Thanks to everyone who found their way to the historic Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ for The Positive Community’s 4th Annual Great American Emancipation Day Awards Banquet on February 25th. Just ask anyone who attended. It was a wonderful, soulful affair—a blessed occasion. The theme: The Dawn of Freedom 160 Years of the Emancipation Proclamation—1863–2063.
This year’s celebration began on December 30th 2022, with the birth of a new tradition; a solemn observance. The Ecumenical Pre-Watch Night Candlelight Prayer Walk in Newark was created to dramatize the importance of December 31, 1862, Watch Night. One hundred sixty years ago, our ancestors, especially in the Confederate southern states, gathered in anticipation of the next day.
The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln went into effect on January 1, 1863, New Year’s Day, signaling the beginning of the end to slavery in the USA. In our story, we refer to this season as The Great American Emancipation/The Dawn of Freedom! The spirit of the Awards Banquet was a collective demonstration of gratitude, love, and respect for all who suffered, and in many cases sacrificed their lives on battlefields during the Civil War in behalf of American freedom (a war that cost over 700,000 American lives).
February 25 was a day of appreciation and celebration for all who are committed to supporting the positive, community-building ideals of self- acceptance, self-reliance, self-respect and selfless service. Each of our distinguished honorees received a beautiful framed Cultural Narrative poster. The Cultural Narrative speaks to the soul; it’s the truth about our people, our nation—our American story.
At a time when Black history is either being altered or banned from public school curriculums and libraries, we encourage everyone to see to it that our children are taught about origins and destinies. Teach the children appreciation and gratitude. Affirm the dignity of our humanity! Promote cultural literacy through experience and the arts. Inspire our young people to seek knowledge and wisdom; truth and righteousness.
Indeed, the progress of our children and the integrity and dignity of our African American culture, values and traditions—our collective soul—mean everything! Any real or meaningful dialogue about the future must deal with this core reality.
And “Thank you” to our sponsors and advertisers, corporations, small businesses, public and private institutions,and “community partners” that care. It was a very happy occasion, a wonderful celebration of spiritual unity and cultural pride—one community—One Nation Under a Groove! Special thanks to the faith communities and clergy leadership who came to sit at “freedom’s table!” And to the many who travelled great distances to fellowship with us. Shout-out to Host Rev. Jacques DeGraff; Producer Kim J. Ford; TPC Production Team and Music Performers Alexis Morrast, Joshua Nelson, and the McDonalds Gospel Choir.
Check out the images on the following pages. Visit us online thepositivecommunity.com for video highlights of the Awards Banquet and more. Download your copy of the Cultural Narrative poster. For the best music ever recorded, tune in to TPC Radio.com streaming live 24/7. And stand by for announcements of upcoming events and activities. At TPC, we remain ever steadfast in our commitment to provide quality service; to represent and promote our very best—America’s best—Positive Change!