Carmel parents recognize Juneteenth 4 months after racist TikToks

The recognition of the holiday comes four months after the school district first acknowledged a series of student-created videos on social media that included racist tropes, slurs, and hate targeted at students of color.

Jonathan Gordon

Jun 20, 2023, 12:43 AM

Updated 309 days ago

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A group of parents from the Carmel Central School District and community members came together to celebrate Juneteenth on Monday.
The recognition of the holiday comes four months after the school district first acknowledged a series of student-created videos on social media that included racist tropes, slurs, and hate targeted at students of color.
The incident deeply divided the community and exposed a longstanding history of not confronting hate, according to parents like Abigail Santana who created the Community Alliance For Empowerment (CAFE) organization in response.
"It started with the school. We just knew a lot of issues were deep-rooted," said Carmel parent and Community Alliance For Empowerment founder Abigail Santana.
Monday's event featured an oral telling of slavery in America, a book giveaway focused on diversity, and a celebration of Black culture.
"It's up to us, the parents, the community members to come together and educate our children on what the real history is," said Santana.
The Historic Putnam County Courthouse has become the site of many anti-hate protests in recent months.
But on Monday, it served a different purpose.
"To meet people that are not like yourself and find out how much you really have in common," said Linda, a community activist and Carmel resident.
Organizers hoped the recognition of Juneteenth in such a public way would show people they are overcoming racism and educating the local community.
"Today's celebration is proving that," said Linda.
The Carmel school district sought out places it could improve after the TikTok incident including better communication with parents, offering anti-bias training to staff, and updating its curriculum for students.
Santana said they are hoping to be an ally to the school and work with the administration to usher in these changes by the fall.
A spokesperson for the Carmel school district has not yet responded to our request for comment.
Organizers say this is the first time there have been two Juneteenth events in the town after county officials held one at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park earlier in the day.
A sign of progress.


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