Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally, the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederacy of the southern United States.

In recognition of Juneteenth, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities member BakerRipley in Houston, hosted a Jubilee Celebration that honored the legacy of Black Houstonians. The event also featured the launch of ‘Wisdom Exchange,’ an online intergenerational storytelling project that engaged young men of color and four older iconic Houstonians. The young men had the opportunity to develop their journalism skills through the project and the experienced community leaders got to share some of their hard-earned wisdom.

In addition to the video launch, BakerRipley used the Jubilee event to introduce their newly published book“Black Lives Houston: Voices of Our Generations” that further highlights the power of intentionally bringing together generations to explore and discuss issues of culture, race, history and opportunity. Marlon A. Smith, PhD, senior manager of policy and engagement at BakerRipley, and primary author of the book, reflects in his recent blog post on the power of hearing stories from older generations. “Those stories not only gave me a sense of family and cultural history, but also they inspired me and reminded me that I have a responsibility to participate in upholding the ideas of freedom and democracy,” he writes. 

Echoing Dr. Smith’s sentiments, Jose Rivera, BakerRipley’s assistant director of senior engagement and connection, adds: “Connecting youth with older adults that are cultural reflections of themselves provides an opportunity to explore the paths that have been paved and reveal a vibrant and powerful history of resilience and perseverance. Connecting is a step to creating awareness of cultural identity and pride of community and of self.” BakerRipley is one of 10 demonstration sites across the country participating in the Alliance’s Second Acts for Strong Communities initiative, exploring new approaches for engaging and leveraging older adult talent to support youth, strengthen organizations and communities.

Opportunities to Learn More

Several Alliance members in the Second Acts cohort will be sharing how they are tapping older adults to support youth in a PechaKucha workshop at the 2018 Alliance National Conference , to be held Oct. 15-17 in Denver. In addition, during the conference’s TED Talk-style Snapshots , Jane Bavineau, vice president of BakerRipley’s senior services division will share how appreciative inquiry changed her perspective on aging and Eunice Nichols of Encore.org will offer advice for creating community in our fragmented world.

For clear, comprehensive recommendations on how to best develop opportunities, recruit and best engage 50+ talent, download the free 10 Steps Guide for Engaging Adults 50+ Toolkit developed by the Alliance and Encore.org.