Durham, NC – Black love! Black liberation! Black Joy! will once again be manifested at this year’s 3rd annual Black August in the Park on Sunday August 20 downtown Durham at the Durham Central Park. Bring your blankets, dancing shoes, African attire and prepare to join the black community in this unity celebration. When you come, expect to see black moms, dads, babies and elders all all wrapped up in an unapologetic package of unity.
“We saw a need for the community and felt we could fill it,” said Moses Ochola, one of the founders of the organization along with Derrick Beasley, Joshua Gunn, Crystal Taylor and Ja’Nell Henry.
“We all are natives of Durham and we were starting to see a rapid change in the community due to gentrification.” said Beasley.
According to Beasley and Moses, their team wanted to create a space where black folk could be themselves unapologetically. “Centering black people so explicitly is not something that a lot of blacks have not had the chance to organize nor is it something that blacks have the opportunity to partake in their everyday lives.”
“Whether we work in the school or corporate America, ‘blackness’ or black culture is not centered in an explicit and unapologetic way. Just by promoting the notion of “celebrating blackness and black love on T-shirts, posters and signs brings a sense on boldness,” Beasley explained. “Seeing so many different black people of different ages, social economic statuses, orientations, and shades all coming together brings a sense of unity that is rare to come across and is not experienced on the regular. As an organization we are trying to do something to dismantle white supremacy and with August in the Park, it almost serves as a vision of our desired future and to see what a free black future looks like.”
One of the organizations goals is to interrupt white spaces and give a message that black people are still welcomed in the city despite the drastic changes being made due to gentrification.
Attendees have described the event as a refuge for them. Ironically, every year around the month of August, something drastic happens in the news dealing with a racial issue and attack on our race.
Beasley explained that the theme this year is black liberation and the theme is ‘for us to be together, be ourselves and finding solutions to the everyday struggles of being black’.
He reflects that every year through these current events in the news it reminds us of why a space like Black August is important. Just this week, there was a rally attack with the white supremacy against the anti-racist. Following that incident the Durham community knocked over one of the confederate statues in Downtown Durham and is now being charged by authorities with orderly conduct on a statue while none of the white supremacist was charged of any crime.
“In the mist of all of the Chaos, we are still coming together as ‘Black August in the Park’ with love for one another and in the name of black resistance and connecting through a movement,” Beasley went on to say.
Previous goers of Black August have reflected on black love being so visible, which is something most blacks don’t get to see on a daily bases.
One of the purposes of Black August is to serve as a connection between Durham citizens and social justice organizations that are active in the community already. Black August only hosts black food vendors and social justice organizations. By the organizations being there they are giving the attendees an opportunity to really bond and connect with them emotionally on how to benefit from that organization and how to get involved. They purposely do not host vendors or performers.
“If we added them, it would definitely be a shift in the energy and we do not want that to happen. The purpose of this event is for goers to be focused on each other and to bond in black unity. We don’t want people to come to Black August in the Park with the idea of looking at something with the crowd all facing one way and tying their experience to who performed” said Ochola.
With our other major event “Black Market”’, we get local black vendors to come and sell to provide a way to circulate the black dollar. We try to keep the two separate.
“We have big plans for Black August in the near future as it continues to grow” said Beasley. “We want to continue to make it community orientated as we continue to see numbers grow.” We also want the authentic “family reunion cookout type vibe to still be present” said Moses. “We want to continue to promote the history of Black August,” said Beasley.
We are usually working on putting this event together year around. Following Black August, the organization hosts their second annual big event ‘The Black Market’. During this event local black vendors come together and sell to provide a way to circulate the black dollar. This way the team keeps the two separate.
Black August in the Park “celebrating Blackness” will be August 20, 2017 3-8pm Durham Central Park. www.blackaugustinthepark.com
Also They Have A Go Fund Me Page. Please Go And Donate www.gofundme.com/blackaugustinthepark