The 31st Black Family Reunion is this weekend. While the annual celebration has disappeared from other communities, local organizers say it's going strong here.
"Thirty-one years ago there were 25 different Black Family Reunions across the country, but we're the only one left," says Executive Director Tracey Artis.
Artis spent several years learning from her predecessor before taking over. She credits that plus strong support from the community and businesses like Procter & Gamble for the event's staying power.
This year they're adding a speaker series featuring Yusef Salaam, one of the "Central Park Five," who was exonerated in 2002.
"We want to make sure, as the Black Family Reunion, that we are facing and discussing issues that are facing our community like mass incarceration, wrongful imprisonment and gun violence," says Artis.
Other weekend events include a parade Saturday morning, music performances, sports activities and programming for everyone from children to seniors. The theme is "Embracing Our Excellence."
Artis says everyone is welcome.
Also new this year is an opportunity for people to learn about Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height, the woman who founded the national Black Family Reunion.
"She is one of the few ladies pictured behind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the actual March on Washington, and she was just an amazing lady, so we have a booth dedicated to her," Artis explains.
Height wasn't just at the March on Washington, she helped organize it, and is credited for being the first person to view African American and women's equality as a whole, rather than separately.
The Black Family Reunion is a family-focused celebration of the historic strengths and values of the black family.
Thursday, Aug. 15
- Speaker Series featuring Yusef Salaam - 6:30-9 p.m. Corinthian Baptist Church, 1920 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45237. Free
Friday, Aug. 16
- Heritage Breakfast - 8:30-10:30 a.m. Word of Deliverance Ministries for the World with Pastor Nelson Pierce of Beloved Community Church as the keynote. 693 Fresno Road, Cincinnati, OH 45240. Free. Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
- Job Fair - 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Ramada Inn, 11320 Chester Rd., Sharonville, OH 45246. Hosted by Superior Job Fairs
- Punching for Peace - 7-10 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.) Free. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Saturday, Aug. 17
- Parade - 10 a.m. Starting at Avondale Town Center, 3529 Reading Rd.
- Activities and entertainment at Sawyer Point - 12-9 p.m. Featuring food vendors, Music Pavilion, Seniors Pavilion, Sports Pavilion, vendor booths and more. There will also be an R&B concert featuring Tony Toni Tone
Sunday, Aug. 18
- Church Service and Baptism - 10 a.m. - Sawyer Point
- Activities and entertainment at Sawyer Point - 12-9 p.m. Featuring food vendors, Music Pavilion, Seniors Pavilion, Sports Pavilion, vendor booths and more. There will also be a gospel concert featuring Ricky Dillard and New Generation Chorale