Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day Sept 16 2023
Vanderbilt Avenue and Bay Street Staten Island, New York
The purpose of the Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day is to awaken our community to the dawn of a new day of hope and unity and to promote the best of who we are as offspring of the African Diaspora, by raising our consciousness and awareness that we are the descendants of a great people. Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day Sept 16 2023
We are here to awaken our community to new realities of empowerment; while testifying to the fact that we can accomplish more when we unite, than when we are divided.
We declare a new day; of purpose and meaning for ourselves, our families, and our communities”
In 2010. Marjorie Garvin, Fred Davis, Al Peters, Vernon “Dyverse” Wooten, and Minnie Graham, long-time Staten Island residents, and community advocates met weekly at 180 Parkhill Avenue and formed the North Shore Coalition. Their mission was to strategize and begin the laborious task of coalition-building; that would address the disparities in economic, political, and social opportunities for members of their community. In September of that same year, Marjorie Garvin disheartened by the events that had taken place earlier that month, enlisted the help of committee member Minnie Graham, in coordinating the first Staten Island, Black Heritage Family Day. The committee members unanimously agreed that Heritage Day would be the vehicle they would use to start their coalition-building effort.
In late October, in the office of the Empowerment Zone Inc., at 180 Park Hill Avenue, the first planning meeting was held. Community leaders, members, clergy and advocates began working together to plan the “Family Day.” Not to be confused with previous events and understanding the vastness of the many different cultures, languages, and countries where people of African Descent had been disbursed because of chattel slavery; the mission statement was established, “Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day is to honor the vast and diverse cultures of people that originated from the continent of Africa. We celebrate our diversity derived from the common experience that placed us in different lands throughout the world.”
On Saturday, September 17, 2011, Staten Island history was made. Th
e first Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day was held with support from local politicians, churches approximately 60 Community-Based Organizations, and Black-owned businesses; the “Peoples’ Parade and the We Are Family Festival,” became a part of Staten Island’s annual tradition. The 3rd Saturday in September was declared the Staten Island Black Heritage Family Day with a proclamation from former Borough President James Molinaro.
Since the first year, Staten Island Black Heritage’s two fundraisers have become a part of Staten Island’s happenings. The Families Against Violence (FAV) – Family Night Out, a basketball game held in April, is one of the largest anti-violence events on the island. Held every 3rd Sunday in July, at the picturesque Alice Austen House “Smooth Sounds by the Sea,” celebrates the contributions of people of African descent to the music genres of R&B and Jazz. In 2018, Staten Island Black Heritage added the Red, Black & Green Ball, held the 3rd Friday in March; which celebrates the Red, Black and Green flag a visual representation of Black pride and our collective identity, and honors influential Staten Islanders that contribute to the uplifting of our community.