Multimedia: North Fork Juneteenth parade and celebration

The North Fork’s first Juneteenth parade and third celebration in Greenport kicked off Saturday, June 15, a bright, sunny, breezy day — perfect for a celebration.

The celebration began at Clinton Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church on Third Street for a blessing, a sing-a-long to “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” ceremonial reading of General Order No. 3 and a moving speech given by Rev. Natalie Wimberly.

Daniel Franc footage; Angela Colangelo edit

The parade filled Greenport Village with marchers and cyclists from community organizations including C.A.S.T., Greenport Fire Department, Coming to the Table, the Friends of Floyd Memorial Library, the First Universalist Church of Southold, Church of the Holy Trinity and Church of the Redeemer, North Fork Women, the Oysterponds Historical Society and GEMO at Orient Yacht Club, among others.

After the parade, the group gathered in celebration at Mitchell Park where officials spoke.

Greenport Mayor Kevin Stuessi said, “Today is all about community coming together, being at the table together. I thank Rev. Natalie and everybody at A.M.E. Zion for everything they’ve done for our community.” He noted to ongoing applause that the church is celebrating its centennial this year.

Town Councilman Greg Doroski followed noting that, “Celebrations like this are important because it breathes life into these ideas [unalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness].”

“Words have power. Images have meaning. The children are watching and listening,” said Anne Smith Town Councilwoman representing Town Supervisor Al Krupski, as she addressed the group gathered in Mitchell Park after the parade. “They need us to nurture the seeds of hope planted today and in all the things we do together.”

Candace Hall, Greenport Village clerk, took to the mic to shout out her home town, Greenport, for showing up and out as well as the organization Coming to the Table and the Southold Anti-Bias Task Force for pulling the event together and Clinton Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church for being “a special place within the community.”

Daniel Franc footage; Angela Colangelo edit

She quoted civil rights leader Fannie Lou Haimer, “Nobody’s free until we are all free,” and left the group with the challenge to share the conversation and what was learned with their networks and communities.

“It’s your responsibility as somebody who is here sharing the celebration to have challenging conversations with your friends and family. If you push through, that is where the change happens,” she encouraged. “We all have reach within ourselves.”

Performances during the celebration included Jus B Cuz, the North Fork Academy of Dance and other community groups. Greenport High School sophomore Faith Welch read a guest column she wrote for The Suffolk Times. It echoed the sentiment of religious officials from other local congregations, who spoke about acknowledging history on the North Fork and the contributions to it by African Americans and using the holiday as an opportunity to continue to move toward equity for all.

Pastor Milton D. Vann of Jefferson Temple Church of God in Christ in Cutchogue said, “Freedom still has some growing to do.”