Immaculate Heart Celebrates Juneteenth with a Jubilee
Immaculate Heart recognized Juneteenth, now a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, with a Jubilee event that formally launched the school’s new Immaculate Heart Black Student Leadership Academy and Council.
Planning for the Juneteenth Jubilee had been underway for weeks, but despite the hot temperatures, IH students, families, faculty, staff and friends gathered on the campus ballfield Saturday to share in the festivities, which included student presenters, performances from the Devotion Gospel Choir from Berean Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and pop-up booths from local Black-owned businesses Malik Books and Mylette Nora Textiles.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Staci Ma, an educator and alumna of Immaculate Heart’s Class of 1982, recalled how her own Immaculate Heart experience empowered her as a young woman. She also expressed her excitement for how the new Black Student Leadership Academy will offer even better support and opportunities for Immaculate Heart’s Black students in grades 6 through 12 as they develop their voices and seek positive change in the world. Dr. Ma then introduced her fellow Council members overseeing the Black Student Leadership Academy, including attendance clerk Carol Cobbs, admissions coordinator Karlyn Johnson Brown and librarian Tracie Thomas.
The formal ceremony also featured student presenters. Senior Samara Holloway, next year’s student body president for Immaculate Heart High School, who read “Black Girls Rising,” a poem from Renée Watson’s novel Piecing Me Together. Immaculate Heart Middle School eighth graders Jade Jackson and Lola Jefferson then reflected on what Juneteenth meant to them and its deep impact on their families.
Following the program, attendees enjoyed lunch on the field, along with lawn games and the chance to peruse the vendors’ products. Malik Books’ guest authors Antoine Bandele and Kaliaya Dews signed their new books, Bandele’s TJ Young & The Orishas: The Gatekeeper’s Staff and Dews’ Dream Girl Coloring Book. Mylette Nora Textiles, owned and operated by award-winning costume designer Mylette Nora, offered designer masks and pieces from Nora’s From the Heart Doggie Wear line.
And, as she thanked everyone for attending, Immaculate Heart High School Principal Naemah Morris said she looked forward to seeing everyone next year for the second annual Juneteenth Jubilee.
“At Immaculate Heart, when you do something once, it becomes a tradition,” she said. “So, I’m sure that a hundred years from now, they’ll be looking back at this first Jubilee and celebrating this fantastic event.”