New Haven Independent Feature


Backyard Bash Brings Black Triumphs Alive


A Father’s Day and Juneteenth celebration hosted in a Newhallville backyard highlighted New Haven-based organizations and movements to recognize the local Black community’s past and present triumphs.

The intimate walk-through celebration at the Ivy Narrow Bird Habitat was hosted by the Amistad Committee and Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry.

Organizers Jackie Buster, Kai Perry, Kelly Mero, and Meredith Benson had originally canceled the event due to safety concerns about hosting a large gathering amidst Covid-19. When the nationwide Black Lives Matter protest began, the organizers decided it was necessary to put the event on.

“There’s not enough opportunity to celebrate as Black people. We are often grieving or fighting the battle of oppression,” said Perry.

This is the third year the organizers have hosted a Juneteenth celebration. This year’s gathering pushed visitors to walk through the celebration to get information on work being done by organizations throughout New Haven, then tune in on a Facebook live broadcast with speakers.

Babz Rawls Ivy hosted a series of live interviews on WNHH FM with invited guests on the front porch of 205-207 Ivy St. Topics ranged from voter education, police brutality, helping kids understand racism, and policy-based social change.


Antoinette Badillo, NAACP Greater New Have political action chair, tabled with President Dori Dumas, registering eligible visitors to vote. Badillo brought along 100 registration forms and encouraged New Haveners to register to have their voices heard. “It’s especially important because our ancestors fought for this right. Why give up the opportunity?” she said. A free Juneteenth face mask was given to each person who registered.

The pair also provided visitors with information on the 2020 census. “We want them to understand that the census helps to resource our communities. We all deserve to be counted,” Dumas said. “Being engaged is empowering.”

Badillo and Dumas talked with one visitor, Divonne, who expressed his distrust for the government and therefore efforts like the census. “You guys remember Tuskegee,” he said, referring to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

“I remember and you remember Tuskegee, which is why we need to do this,” said Dumas. “If we want better things like streets, after-school programs, and hospital services, we have to be counted.”



This article has been edited to highlight the contributions of the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP. For the full article, please click the here: