As part of the Juneteenth celebration this past Saturday, the Memnosyne Foundation held its Walking 2 Destiny Festival for more than 300 youngsters (five to 18) and their families at the Lifeway Church.
Built upon last year’s celebration,this year’s event was dedicated to the late Bishop Dr. Larry McGriff of the Church of the Living God, who died earlier this year from an aneurysm. To mark the occasion, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert joined Larry’s wife, the Rev. Dr. Karen Hollie (pictured with Tom), and many others in creating a day of activities to help youngsters “to make positive changes in their lives as they become involved on a personal level with others who care.”
This year’s festival was loaded with activities including dance, traditional African prayers and music by both Bandan Koro and Kweku G. Kordrington, thanks to the Office of Cultural Affairs. Bobby Patterson, recording artist and KKDA radio personality, emceed between acts performed by Genesis, the Cameron Parks Mime Troupe and Apostle Darrell Yancey, gospel recording artist.
In addition to Dusti the Clown, they also had “AFI” Bell from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, who came dressed in traditional African dress and captivated the audience of both children and adults with her dynamic storytelling. She incorporated instruments, songs and chants to educate the audience in a dynamic, interactive way about the history of black people in America and specifically the reason behind the celebration of Juneteenth.
Freddie Jones, nationally-acclaimed composer, producer and trumpeter, provided a music workshop for children inside. Jones also took the main stage outside and entertained the crowds with his contemporary jazz music.
And the smart organizers arranged to have lunch provided free for all. And we all know how very important it is to close with a winning moment. Well, it came when Imam Muhammed Shakoor of the Merciful Redeemer Mosque, Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and the Rev. Dr. Todd Collier distributed (pictured) more than 100 pairs of Nike gym shoes and more than 200 backpacks to community children. The backpacks were provided by the Memnosyne Foundation and filled with food donated by Christian Community Action of Lewisville.
The festival’s success was possible thanks to volunteers from the Memnosyne Foundation’s Interfaith Service Network, Lifeway Church, the Ismaili Muslim Community, Baha’i Temple of Dallas, Center for Spiritual Living and individual volunteers from various faith traditions across Dallas. Participation from the Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation and local arts organizations, as well as sponsorships from Taylor Rental, Oak Cliff Presbyterian and Cathedral of Hope, and The Office of Cultural Affairs. KHVN-FM and Elite News also contributed to the success of this year’s Walking 2 Destiny Festival.