Portraits of Freedom: Juneteenth MetroArt

The city is buzzing with excitement as Austin readies itself for the annual Juneteenth celebration.

We are equally excited about the upcoming festivities. Walking and riding in the annual Juneteenth parade has been a tradition of Capital Metro.

To get the bus ready for the parade, we’re inviting Austinites to help us create Portraits of Freedom, a community MetroArt project consisting of hundreds of self-portraits made out of vinyl and installed on a 35-foot bus. Portraits will be created by the general public, 100 students at AISD schools, and Capital Metro operators and staff, in collaboration with the Carver Museum and Cultural Center and Theatre Action Project (TAP).


Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” is the oldest known African American celebration commemorating the end of slavery. Slaves were declared free on January 1, 1863, under the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, which declared that all slaves living in states still in rebellion were “then, thenceforward, and forever free.” However, African Americans in Texas were not aware of the proclamation, until June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, the commander of U.S. Troops in Texas, arrived in Galveston and read General Order 3:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

On January 1, 1980, a bill was passed making Juneteenth an official Texas state holiday.

Portraits of Freedom honors both the spirit of Juneteenth and the eastside community today. 1865 was a time when one’s identity was oft attempted to be defined by others. Portraiture, by definition, is an artistic representation of a person in a particular moment in time. By creating a portrait in your own image and by your own hand, it is a declaration of having the freedom to define who you are, as you see yourself in that moment in time. Collectively, our portraits define the multifaceted face of our community and city.

The community is invited to join in the MetroArt-making fun this Saturday, June 16, 2012, 12pm to 4pm, as a part of the Carver Museum’s Juneteenth Family Fun Day. Activities, including music, food, games and fun, are FREE and open to the public. For more information on the Family Fun Day, please visit http://www.austintexas.gov/event/juneteenth-carver or call the Carver at 512-974-4926. Look for the Capital Metro bus in the north parking lot, near Kealing Middle School.

Be sure to come see the Portraits of Freedom bus riding in the annual Greater East Austin Youth Association’s Juneteenth parade and celebration on Tuesday, June 19th, 10am to 12pm, For more information on the parade, including the parade route, please visit http://www.juneteenthcentraltexas.com/

We are looking forward to celebrating a happy and safe Juneteenth. With active MetroRail service running throughout the week, please visit www.stayoffthetracks.com to view rail safety reminders for you and your family.

Our holiday tradition

My favorite holiday tradition at Capital Metro is the annual caroling from our neighbors across the street at Brooke Elementary School. As a thank you to our employees who volunteer at Brooke and help needy families, each year the school puts on a holiday concert in our lobby. Without further ado, please enjoy the third, fourth and fifth graders’ rendition of Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad:


 

Transit for Turkey Time

It’s almost turkey time, and if you hurry, you can gobble up a free bus pass for the 22nd annual Austin Feast of Sharing dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 4 – 8 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center.

Every year, Capital Metro and H-E-B team up to offer transportation for the event. Trot over to one of these stores and pick-up a free day pass (while supplies last) that’s valid only for the day of the feast:

  • H-E-B #1 – 2701 E. 7th St.
  • H-E-B #3 – 1000 E. 41st St.
  • H-E-B #8 – 2400 S. Congress Ave.
  • H-E-B #12 – 2508 E. Riverside Dr.
  • H-E-B #15 – 9414 N. Lamar

Then stuff your address into our trip planner to find the best route to get to 900 Barton Springs Road.

With the generous help of hundreds of people from H-E-B and other community volunteers, the Feast of Sharing will serve a bountiful Thanksgiving feast to more than 13,000 people from Austin, Travis County and surrounding communities.

If you aren’t quite ready for Thanksgiving, maybe this list will put you in the mood. The feast will include: Continue reading “Transit for Turkey Time”

Grace takes a poignant bus ride

Just in time for Thanksgiving, check out this blog post from Cincinnati Enquirer editorial writer Krista Ramsey:

He is on my Metro bus only occasionally, a worn man in rumpled clothing with disheveled hair.

Buses are such forcibly communal spaces that people try not to be intrusive. Still, it’s hard not to notice that this man’s life looks different from the rest of ours. Continue reading “Grace takes a poignant bus ride”