The Staten Island Community Alliance is a group of African American community-based organizations that purposefully formed to create programming for our annual Juneteenth Celebrations here on Staten Island. These organizations led by leaders of color on Staten Island came together to build a cultural environment that will be sustainable organizationally beyond the holiday.
President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, that went into effect on January 1, 1863, as the nation neared completion of its second year of a bloody Civil War. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states" are, and henceforward shall be free."
On June 19, 1865, enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas, were the last to know they were Emancipated. This Freedom Day, June 19, 1865, became known as Jubilee Day hence, “Juneteenth” which has been an annual day of remembrance amongst African Americans. On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (S.8598/A.10628) officially making Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, a New York state holiday. Governor Cuomo said. "This new public holiday will serve as a day to recognize the achievements of the Black community, while also providing an important opportunity for self-reflection on the systemic injustices that our society still faces today."
Staten Island as the home of Sandy Ground Community, located in Rossville is dedicated to the oldest continuously inhabited free Black settlement in the United States. In 2021, Congress made Juneteenth a National Holiday thus solidifying the importance of this freedom for enslaved Africans and people of African descent in the United States.
Throughout the years, Staten Islanders recognized and celebrated the Emancipation of enslaved Africans throughout communities on the North Shore. Community giants such as The Kwanzaa Lady, Harriet Tubman Purple Hats Society Inc., and Black Churches created communal events which continued to educate and bring people together to pay tribute to our ancestors who sacrificed for us to be here today. Last year, in the first of its kind, community leaders came together to have a one-Juneteenth Celebration at Snug Harbor, and this year, the tradition continues with the Jubilee Collective.
All committed organizations share a common ground, a common pain, and a clearly defined purpose to uplift Black and brown communities on Staten Island and beyond through a variety of means which are critical to shifting the racial and inequitable dynamics on Staten Island.