LCC Harambee club celebrates Juneteenth

LCC Harambee club celebrates Juneteenth

A large ceremony took place at the Lincoln Correctional Center (LCC) on Saturday, June 15th, in honor of Juneteenth – the June 19, 1865 day that signifies the ending of slavery in the United States.

The Harambee Afrikan Cultural Organization (HACO) is a popular club at LCC that’s grown in membership and depth over the years. The men living at LCC and LCC teammates both talked about how they appreciate the time the club commits to the Juneteenth event.

The club consists of about 30 dedicated members who focus on education and leadership. Each month, they do book reports as well as hold each other up to being leaders inside and outside of the club.

“I am of the opinion that those who have been members of HACO and participated in its programs have benefitted in terms of their intellectual growth, cultural identity and honor, successful transition from the facility, and reduced recidivism,” said University of Nebraska Professor Henry D’Souza, one of the volunteers for this event.

For the past month, members of the HACO prepared for the ceremony. June 19, 1865 is the day in history when Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce the Civil War had ended and slaves had been freed. Most of the slaves had no idea their freedom had been secured.

Members of the club celebrated the day by reading a short biography they had written to honor African Americans as well as African leaders. They held up posters they made commemorating each. Jose Rodriquez, vice president of the club, wrote about George Washington Carver and his educational accomplishments as well as his agricultural advances. “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom,” Rodriquez quoted Carver.

Several leaders of HACO and volunteers spoke about the struggles of slaves to liberate themselves and referred to the present day struggles of African Americans. Following the presentations, everyone enjoyed a special meal prepared for the event and played several rounds of Bingo.

“Clubs like HACO should be given full support and encouragement for their major contribution to the successful rehabilitation of its members,” said D’Souza.

“It’s my favorite club,” said Recreation Specialist Alyssa Dodd. “It’s had a big turn around.”