Juneteenth Now: Let Freedom Dance

So Many Ways to Celebrate Black Liberation

On June 19, 2020—after the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor—Middle Church, Charles Randolph-Wright, and Shanta Thake aired an artistic proclamation: Juneteenth Now: Get us free! The systemic, persistent racism that corrodes our public life violates our deepest values. As a multiethnic community, we mourn how antiblackness threatens the lives of our members. And, speaking as a church, it desecrates the gospel. On this and every Juneteenth, and in the spirit of Ubuntu, we affirm that none of us are truly free until we center the thriving of Black people.  

Unfortunately, the three years since that original premiere have shown how little has changed in the lives of Black people in America. From ongoing police violence to the hunting of Black folks in a grocery store to wage and health disparities to the murder of Jordan Neely in a subway car—the evidence is clear that our liberative work is incomplete.

So, this Juneteenth, led by our artists, we again proclaim Black Lives Matter. We resist anti-Black racism with tenacity, in trembling boldness, with fierce love. Our program, Juneteenth Now: Let Freedom Dance is a two-day celebration of Black music, literature, spirituality, and joy.

Sunday, June 18

Morning: Worship Celebration & Sermon Talkback

Join us for stunning worship celebrations that center Black joy, and a book launch discussion for Rev. Natalie Renee Perkins fabulous new book, In Trembling Boldness! To make sure everyone can join, we are offering two identical programs, the first at 9:30 a.m. ET, the second at 11:45 a.m. ET. Each will feature a worship celebration and book discussion in the East End Temple sanctuary, followed by a soul food reception in the social hall. Bring your father or the father-figure in your life!

Location: East End Temple and Online (245 E. 17th St)

Schedule (All Times ET):

9:30 a.m.: Worship Celebration
10:30 a.m.: Loving Fiercely in Trembling Boldness book talk
11:00 a.m.: Food and community

11:45 a.m.: Worship Celebration
12:45 p.m.: Loving Fiercely in Trembling Boldness book talk
1:15 p.m.: Food and community

*Note: The 11:45 a.m. worship and 12:45 p.m. book talk will be live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Middlechurch.org


Evening: Lincoln Center and Shanta Thake Celebrate Juneteenth with Middle Church

To a Garden Luxuriously Verdant (Enameled with Countless Flowerings)

Curated, conceptualized, and executed by the singular creative force that is Carl Hancock Rux, To a Garden Luxuriously Verdant (Enameled with Countless Flowerings) is a multi-genre, experiential, full-campus celebration of the fight for a more free America on the eve of the 158th anniversary of Juneteenth Independence Day.

9:00 p.m.:
Let Freedom Dance. and Middle Church artists Adrienne Hurd, Lutin Tanner, Antwayn Hopper, Kaliswa Brewster, and Matthew Johnson Harries host a disco:  This dance party will feature gospel music reimagined by DJ Rimarkable and special guests, illuminating the path to justice and transformation with movement. We invite you to join the joy, as the city experiences Middle magic and we move the call to freedom from our hearts into our bodies. Disco turns silent at 10:00p

Location: Lincoln Center (150 W 65th St)

Schedule (All Times ET):

7:00 p.m.: Performance
9:00 p.m.: Let Freedom Dance/ Silent Disco at 10:00 p.m.

Monday, Juneteenth (June 19)

Evening: 7:00 p.m. ET: Juneteenth Now: Get Us Free!

Join us for an encore of our star-spangled testament to hope. We’ll also drop a trailer for a beautiful new piece that will stream in early July: Juneteenth Now: Let Freedom Dance, when Charles Randolph Wright returns as co-producer for another incredible Juneteenth artistic production! He will partner with Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis and renowned choreographers Adrienne Hurd and Lutin Tanner to birth a stunning celebration of Black music and dance, beckoning us toward collective liberation. Featuring a stunning cast, soon to be announced, the performance will have you on your feet and dancing freedom!

Location: Online on YouTube, Facebook, and Middlechurch.org