In April, 2016, Kenny Gamble, Chairperson of Universal Companies and Philadelphia Community of Leaders (PCOL), and Ali Salahuddin, co-founder of African Genesis Institute and Chairman of the PCOL Cultural Committee, conceived the idea of producing a Juneteenth Parade and Festival in Philadelphia. Their vision was to produce a one day event that would include the laying of a wreath at the Presidents House in honor of the enslaved Africans held captive there by George Washington followed by a parade through the most historic square mile in America. They then reached out to Kofi Asante, a well known producer of cultural events, to produce the celebration and Michael Rashid, retired CEO of AmerihealthCaritas, to oversee the finances. And as they say “The rest is history”.
With only two months of planning, the first Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival took place on June 18, 2016. This event drew an audience of 5000 people, 2 floats, 15 units and 50 vendors with the parade ending and the festival occurring at the African American Museum at 7th and Arch. This year’s 2017 Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival had more than 1,000 participants. In attendance were two kings from Ghana, a United States Congressman, two Pennsylvania Mayors, State Senators, State Representatives, the Philadelphia Police Chief, Prince Hall Masons and a host of Councilpersons and Dignitaries. Parade participants came from different states along the northeastern coast, from New York City to Washington D.C., to the delight of over 7,000 spectators for our second year.
Because of its tremendous popularity, Juneteenth Parade and Musicfest 2018 has expanded to a two day celebration occurring on June 22nd and 23rd. Friday will feature a twilight wreath laying ceremony at the Presidents House followed by a jazz reception at the African American Museum. The Saturday parade is expected to draw an audience of 25,000 people, 20 floats, 64 groups and 80 vendors. Unlike the previous 2 events, the 2018 parade will be televised in its entirety by Channel 6. In addition, the parade will end and the festival will take place at Penn’s Landing.
Kenny Gamble- Chairman
Ali Salahuddin – Chairman of the Cultural Committee
Michael Rashid – Treasurer
Kofi Asante – Executive Producer and Artistic Director
Helen M Salahuddin, Esq. – General Counsel
Tamara Staley – Chief Operations Officer
Wali Hamid – Director of Operations
Stanley Crawford – Director of Logistics
Devon Allen – Director of Marketing
Maimouna Dia – Executive Administrator
Melody Muhammad & Bigga Dre
•Akbar Muhammad , Rochelle Bilal, Parade Marshalls
Costume & Design:
Stage Manager / Administrative Assistant: