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King Boston Embrace Ideas Festival

The Embrace Ideas Festival challenges community members to imagine and build a city worthy of its community

King Boston

King Boston is hosting a week-long festival grounded in arts, culture, and public scholarship amplifying anti-racism and a vision for a transformed Boston.

Hosted for the first time in the week leading up to the Juneteenth holiday weekend, along with official streaming partners NBC10 Boston and GBH, the Embrace Ideas Festival challenges community members to imagine and build a city worthy of its community.

“We want to leave a stamp in the city of Boston by creating a place for all residents to come together and celebrate the rich culture, people and ideas of Boston that deserve to be amplified and uplifted,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of King Boston. “Through arts and culture, the first Embrace Ideas Festival will connect, educate, and energize our communities to help cultivate the vision of a ‘New Boston’."

King Boston invites the community to consider their role in the festival’s theme of “Building A New Boston Together," welcoming people of all walks of life to five days of embracing music, art, culture, ideas, joy, and the presence of being surrounded by each other.

Festival programming, panelists and notable attendees to include:

  • Monday, June 13: It’s Not a Zero Sum Game
    • Hosted by: The Boston Foundation
    • Keynote: Author Heather McGhee; Boston Foundation President Dr. Lee Pelton
    • Featuring: Dr. April Inniss, King Boston’s Director of Community Engaged Research
    • Social time artist: Greg Groover Jr. Jazz Quartet
  • Tuesday, June 14: Healing from Racialized Trauma
    • Hosted by: Harvard Medical School
    • Keynote: Michael Curry, president, CEO of Mass League of Community Health Centers; Jeneé Osterheldt, Boston Globe culture columnist
    • Featuring: Dr. Thea James, Boston Medical Center; Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, Carequest; and Dr. Joan Reede, Harvard Medical School.
    • Social time artist: Kaovanny
  • Wednesday, June 15: The Saving Power of Culture
    • Hosted by: The Institute of Contemporary Art
    • Keynote: Imari Paris Jeffries, King Boston’s executive director; Hank Willis Thomas, conceptual artist; Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art
    • Featuring: Andrés Holder, Boston Children’s Chorus; Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs; Michael Bobbitt, Mass Cultural Council; Sheena Collier, Boston While Black; and Gregory Ball, director of digital strategy and production of King Boston.
    • Jazz reception at Klaviyo
  • Thursday, June 16: Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations
    • Hosted by: WGBH
    • Keynote: Tammy Tai, King Boston’s deputy director; Kamm Howard, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA)
    • "Are We Ready for City Level Reparations" panel featuring: Dr. Jemadari Kamara, University of Massachusetts Boston; Sheryl Evans Davis, San Francisco Human Rights Commission; Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, Amherst African Heritage Reparation Assembly; and Robin Rue Simmons, FirstRepair.
    • Social time artist: Amandi Music
  • Friday, June 17: Equity, Freedom and the Future
    • Hosted by: Massachusetts College of Art and Design
    • Keynote: Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson, author and professor, Wellesley College; Latoyia Edwards, NBC10 Boston; and L’Merchie Frazier, Museum of African American History.

On Day 5 of the Festival, King Boston will honor Former Mayor Kim Janey and Robert Lewis Jr., president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, with their inaugural Embrace Award. Following the award ceremony, King Boston will kick off the Juneteenth weekend within the heart of Boston at Nubian Square Business District with The Embrace Ideas Block Party which aims to celebrate artistic expression through a lively party. This evening celebration will be a joyful night of dancing, music, community, and delicious food provided by the area's best BIPOC-owned food trucks.

“Thanks to all of our supporters and community members, we’ve been able to turn this vision into a reality,” Paris Jeffries said. “We look forward to having the Embrace Ideas Festival become a staple for Black excellence, making for a more equitable and inclusive city.”

Major event sponsors to date include: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Boston Foundation, GBH, Harvard Medical School, the ICA, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Other official sponsors for the week of the jam-packed festivities include: BlackJoy, Black Market, Boston Ballet, Boston Children's Chorus, Boston While Black, City of Boston, Cooley LLP, Deloitte, Huntington Theatre Company, Jazz Urbane, Klaviyo, Merrimack Valley, ProjectStep, Roxbury Cultural District, State Street Corporation, United Way of Massachusetts Bay.

King Boston’s new Embrace Ideas Festival website will amplify their community of partners who will be hosting pre and post event conference activities throughout the week. These community partners will help King Boston to power other Juneteenth festivities including an effort to distribute small grants.

Guests can purchase tickets, which will be released in waves, for a single day on a sliding scale of $0 to $25, or an all-week pass for $75.

For ticket sales and more information on the Festival, please visit the Embrace Ideas Festival website.

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