Glasper & Patterson Participate in Juneteenth Celebration
Mechanical Rubber President & CEO, Cedric Glasper, was a featured speaker at a Juneteenth Celebration held in the Village of Warwick on Saturday, June 19. Organized by the P.O.W.E.R. (Power Of Words Exposing Racism) Poetry Project, the event included live music, dancing, and live performances. The program was introduced by P.O.W.E.R. Founder Sabrina Jennings.
“What’s the difference between my black life and my African American life? What’s the difference in my Negro life and my colored life?” said Cedric Glasper, President and CEO of Mechanical Rubber before telling a story of how as a child he believed his people to have come from Nigeria and asked a teacher about it, only receiving a blank stare in response. “Similar ethnic people were considered Negros up until 1960s when Black became beautiful, but something was still missing and that was cultural heritage. So, since the 1990s I’ve been called African American. I accept that considering I’m still researching my ancestry and have narrowed it down to 40% Nigerian. Wish I could go back to my elementary teacher and tell her.”
Cedric Glasper & Wayne Patterson at Juneteenth Celebration in Warwick
“We African Americans make up roughly 5% of the township, but yet here we are: organizing, educating, and leading,” he continued. “For me Inclusion is the most important part of the equation in that if I’m invited to the party, I can learn from you and you can learn from me. I leave you with this: People who distance, segregate, isolate from others are simply – simple. There are no fresh ideas of thought, there is no improvement, there is no success. There is failure, defeat, fear, and possibly even racism. Don’t fall into the trap of isolationism, us against them – hate, and again ultimately failure.”
In addition to Glasper, speakers included the Chief Diversity Officer at SUNY Orange Dr. Willie Williams, Warwick Village Mayor Michael Newhard and Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Orange County Human Resources Commissioner Inaudy Esposito, and Judy Battista BIPOC Mental Health A.F.S.P. Hudson Valley NY Chapter.
“I commend the organizing committee for a job well done,” said Wayne Patterson, Mechanical Rubber. “I joined a crowd of more than 200 people, women, men and children of all ages, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and gender identity. It was heartwarming, relaxing, informational and inspiring. Having lived in Warwick for 22 years, I have never experienced anything like it. The air was full of love and peace while soaking in the day’s joyous sounds of words, instruments and laughter. I am a better person for attending this Juneteenth journey.”