“I believe we should all know our stories. We don’t want our stories to get lost in the mix.
Michael Twitty is passionate about local black history. He is also dedicated to staying healthy on his bike. He lost thirty pounds and fell in love with cycling.
Twitty started the Black and Brown Soul Cyclists group in New Haven and says it’s open to everyone.
“And because I love riding my bike, I was able to incorporate not only kind of a healthy lifestyle by building healthy habits, but also ‘Hey, let’s learn something about these rides,'” Twitty said.
Last year he led the first Juneteenth ride for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and it sold out.
“You know, it’s Juneteenth, it’s part of our history. It’s just part of a story that many of us had never heard of in the past,” Twitty said.
This year, it will again guide around 30 cyclists through the city to historic stops like 202-year-old Dixwell Avenue, the Congregational United Church of Christ, Amistad Memorial and New Haven’s first school for black children. .
“And again, if we don’t share the story, the stories will be buried,” Twitty said. “You know, we don’t want that to happen.”
The Juneteenth hike is just one of many events this weekend at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas which is now in its sixth week.
“It’s been really good, believe it or not,” said Malakhi Eason, director of programming and community impact. “Everything went really well, the artists left the channel, the response from the community was great. I’ve only heard great, great, great things about everything.
And there’s a lot more to come.
“This weekend, starting tomorrow, we have Juneteenth Full Circle, and it’s a production that just tells the story of Juneteenth, it gives you a little gospel, a little dance, a little drum tribal,” says Reason.
And to stay in the culture, there’s a fashion show on Saturday night which he says will showcase different walks of life. It will feature New Haven designer Neville Wisdom and Project Runway’s Oscar Prajjé.
“So whether they come from Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, some come from Asia. So it’s going to be really, really nice to see how it all comes together in one show,” Eason said.
Rounding out the Sunday weekend is a Juneteenth, Gospel on the Green and Gregory Porter shopping village.
Eason said everyone should check out the schedule for the next ten days so they can get out and enjoy the arts.
“This stuff is programmed just for our community,” Eason said. “It’s here in New Haven. This is a time for us to support each other and be outside and come together, connected.