Friday, February 23, 2024

Feel Good Friday - Black Joy Parade

As we near the end of Black History Month, let’s wrap it up with a celebration! Today’s Feel Good Friday organization is Black Joy Parade.

Founded in 2018, Black Joy Parade is “a hyper-positive non-profit based in Oakland, CA that celebrates the Black experience and community's contribution to history and culture with its signature parade and celebration, partnerships and events.”

Founder Elisha Greenwell and co-founder Amber Lester wanted “Oakland to become a destination for Black joy” where people could gather to celebrate Black culture and community. That’s where the idea of the parade began. Led entirely by volunteers, the team behind the Black Joy Parade organization partnered with community leaders and icons to create and produce the first Black Joy Parade in 2018. The parade is free to attend and support to produce it comes from grants, donations and sponsorships. 

As they explain on their website, “The Black Joy Parade exists to provide the Black community and allies a live experience that celebrates our influence on cultures past, present and future. We will unite a diverse community by creating a space to express each of our unique contributions to the Black experience. We invite you to be creative, be open, be present, be free.” Having attended several of the parades, I can confirm it is a very fun and joyful event.

This year’s Black Joy Parade is happening on Sunday, February 25th. Yes, that’s this weekend! It starts at 12:30pm in downtown Oakland, and runs along Franklin St. from 14th St. to 19th St. If you live in the Bay Area, come on over and enjoy the parade in person! If you’re not able to attend you can watch this 12-minute documentary to hear from the founders and volunteers as well as see footage from past parades.

In addition to the parade, the organization Black Joy Parade holds year round events such as financial literacy classes, a wine festival, and comedy shows. Check the events page for details and tickets.

If you want to help spread positivity and joy in Oakland, support Black Joy Parade. You can shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Follow Black Joy Parade on Facebook and on Instagram @blackjoyparade.

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