HTEI is committed to providing resources and opportunities for family, friends, and neighbors to advance equitable causes in their town. Below are links to some of the ways we are making this happen!
In 2023, as we reveled in the historic Juneteenth celebrations, we also took a moment to honor the deep significance Juneteenth holds in our shared history, and its influence on our path towards a more equitable future.
On Saturday, June 17th, 2023, the communities of Cherry Hill and Collingswood blossomed into a spectacular display of unity, cultural richness, and an enduring respect for heritage. The day kicked off with the Juneteenth Parade & Festival at Croft Farm, orchestrated by the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association (CHAACA). We were both humbled and proud to join as a Platinum Sponsor, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with this event that celebrated community resilience.
Our HTEI tent played host to Jeannine A. Cook, the esteemed owner of Ida’s & Harriett’s Bookshops. Jeannine offered an exceptional contribution with a banned book pop-up, championing literacy, intellectual freedom, and offering rare finds for personal collectors or those donating to local school districts.
CHAACA's event was further enhanced by the wide array of Black-owned businesses and organizations. Vendors and tabling organizations dotted the landscape, weaving together an atmosphere pulsating with community engagement and vibrant conversations. As the day unfolded, a myriad of performances set the stage aglow, each resonating with the soulful spirit of Juneteenth, notably the effervescent performance by the Camden High School Marching Band.
The festivities continued into the evening in Downtown Collingswood, with the "Unity in the Community: A Juneteenth Celebration" serving as a heartening testament to the strength of community bonding and the importance of remembrance.
As we marked Juneteenth this year, we not only commemorated the end of slavery in the U.S., but also embraced our ongoing commitment to fostering equity and justice within Cherry Hill, Haddon Township, Collingswood, and beyond. These local celebrations are poignant reminders of our community's strength and resilience when united in purpose.
The Color Purple: Truth in Reconciliation
On Sunday, February 26th, 2023, we hosted our second “In Our Backyard” community conversation, facilitated by Minista Jazz, entitled "The Color Purple: Truth in Reconciliation". The conversation was a powerful reminder that, just like the color purple, our lives are complex and full of contrasting experiences. Through the lens of the novel, we explored themes of oppression, resilience, love, and redemption. We learned the parallels of life and the relationship between the rose and it's thorns. Just like the thorns protect the rose, when approaching "uncomfortable" conversations, we should remember to handle with care. By showing up with courage, curiosity, and compassion, we created a safe space to engage in difficult conversations and learn from one another.
Thank you to Minista Jazz for guiding us through this journey of self-discovery and growth, to our community partners The Ritz Theatre Co for allowing us the physical space to connect, Ida's Bookshop for the Alice's Bookshop pop-up collaboration, and to everyone who attended the events.