culture 28 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 13-19, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com “We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said this at a speech at Oberlin College in 1965, not three years before he would be assassinated. Nowadays, the second part of this quote seems more relevant than ever—political divisiveness, racial tension and global conflict are in the zeitgeist daily. Fortunately, optimism still shines bright in Monterey County in the face of adversity through the Juneteenth celebrations happening across its diverse communities. And there’s no one who perhaps embodies the former part of Dr. King’s quote in Monterey County more visibly than Maddox Haberdasher. Haberdasher is the Chief Visionary Officer of the Juneteenth Coalition, a now 4-year-old nonprofit whose mission is to understand and uplift the community through advocacy, immersive experience and the fostering of local economics. The Coalition is not the only organization uplifting and educating Monterey County about Juneteenth and what it means this year. But Haberdasher, in collaboration with managing director of Monterey History and Art at the Stanton Center, Elaura Hastings, have found a niche among the celebrations. “There are several organizations that are [celebrating Juneteenth in Monterey County], and all those organizations do it differently, but it’s all based in Jubilee,” Haberdasher says. “I’m so happy that we’re not the only show in town.” Juneteenth is a celebration of Jubilee, the time freedom was finally granted to enslaved Black Americans. News of freedom at the end of the Civil War did not reach all those enslaved right away—or for more than two-anda-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that American General Gordon Granger stood on a balcony in Galveston and brought the news to Texas. The Juneteenth Coalition, much like the holiday itself, was borne out of a reckoning. The murder of George Floyd in 2020 by a Minneapolis police officer was the impetus that led Haberdasher to start the organization with Executive Director Sean Carr. The young organization focuses on its mission of continuing to welcome people. “You don’t have to punch people in the face with the truth, you can do it in a way that’s based in Jubilee,” says Haberdasher. “That’s always been our idea. When people come in, then you can explain your point of view— why you’re doing protests or why Juneteenth is important. It gives people an entry point.” Haberdasher and Hastings want others from all walks of life to experience the elation behind Jubilee on an elevated level. Their message for the community is simple: Juneteenth is an American holiday that speaks to the liberation of American citizens. Hastings is an expert at putting on a celebration, having done so for over two years at the Stanton Center. To her, the modus operandi of joining one of the oldest nonprofits in Monterey County with one of the youngest just made sense. “This is our freedom day,” Hastings says. “Call it ‘the holidays,’” Haberdasher adds, remarking that the ethos of Juneteenth is almost better than those at the end of the year. Haberdasher solidifies that ethos in recognizing his country’s celebration along with his personal philosophy of carrying joy for himself and others around. “Juneteenth makes me love the Fourth of July more.” Juneteenth is now recognized as a federal holiday on June 19, and there are several celebrations happening in Monterey County to commemorate the occasion. SCENE HERE The Juneteenth Coalition holds its second Annual Juneteenth Film Festival, with themed screenings for three days in addition to revelry. Get your shoulder pads and fresh kicks for the first night with a screening of Beat Street, a 1984 breakdancing drama starring Rae Dawn Chong, Guy Davis and Jon Chardiet. The festival then holds its centerpiece on Saturday with a red carpet pre-party and after-party with a screening of Friday Foster starring Pam Grier and a dress code of “foxy.” Finally, a matineé of The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings starring Billy Dee Wiliams, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor rounds out the film festival. Sports jerseys are encouraged for the finale. 7pm Friday-Saturday, June 14-15 and 2pm Sunday, June 16. All events at Monterey History and Art at the Stanton Center, 5 Custom House Plaza, Monterey. $10-$30. juneteenthcoalition.org. PARK GROOVE The Monterey County Black Caucus holds the fifth Annual Juneteenth Celebration featuring artist, motivational speaker and comedian Mistah F.A.B. In addition, actor/producer/ activist Danny Glover joins in. All are welcome to experience a day of joy, love and community spirit complete with a kids zone with jump houses, a game truck, face painting and a mechanical bull—plus food vendors, dancing and a crowning ceremony to honor two outstanding community leaders. 1pm Saturday, June 15. Laguna Grande Park, 1249 Canyon Del Rey Blvd., Seaside. Free. juneteenth.montereycounty@gmail.com. IN THE STREETS The Salinas Juneteenth Celebration Association furthers its mission to host Black and African culturally-centered events (not just to honor Juneteenth, but also for Kwanzaa and beyond) with the third annual Salinas Juneteenth Celebration. Experience free food and musical performances ranging from African drumming to jazz, folk, R&B and soul. The event concludes with a fashion show. In between there are crafts, kids activities and more. 1-5:30pm, Saturday, June 22. Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave., Salinas. Free. salinasjuneteenth.com. Jumping Jubilee Several Monterey County organizations invite everyone to join in to celebrate Juneteenth. By Sloan Campi “You don’t have to punch people in the face with the truth.” Maddox Haberdasher, Elaura Hastings and Sean Carr (left to right) have been instrumental in Monterey County’s Juneteenth celebrations. Daniel Dreifuss Parker Seibold Dawn Cooney performs “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at Seaside’s Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in 2020, when the tradition of Juneteenth events was taking hold in the county.