Black Family Reunion Will Be Mostly Virtual This Year

Jul 13, 2020

The 32nd annual Black Family Reunion is going virtual in August with organizers planning a series of online concerts and events.

"We felt like this was too important of a year in the history of our community and the Black family community not to have something for the community. ... to celebrate the family by giving to the family," says Executive Director Tracey Artis.

While most events will be virtual, there will be one "call to action" day at Sawyer Point from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 15. During this time people can register to vote, get a free COVID-19 test and pick up free school school supplies and food boxes.

Artis says organizers are taking safety precautions to minimize health risks.

"When people are coming into the park, literally they're just coming to register to vote (or get) COVID-19 testing. You don't even have to get out of your cars if you come to get your back-to-school supplies or a food box."

"Faithful and Fearless" is this year's theme. "As a community we have been faithful and diligent about everything concerning our families, our communities, and we have been fearless as a people," Artis explains.

Speakers include Dr. O'dell Owens and the Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant, with performances by Kenny Lattimore and Kierra Sheard. Local business owners Jesse and Iris Roley and their family are this year's Black Family Reunion Family of the Year. Iris Roley also is a longtime community activist and an original member of the Cincinnati Black United Front. The festival runs Aug. 13-16.

Cincinnati's event is the last remaining Black Family Reunion in the country. It's a family-focused celebration of the historic strengths and values of the Black family founded by Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height.

Schedule Of Events

Thursday, Aug. 13

  • Speaker Series featuring Rev. Dr Jamal Bryant; 7:00 p.m. EST. This event will be held virtually and is free.

Friday, Aug. 14

  • Heritage Breakfast feat. Dr. O'dell Owens, President and CEO of Interact for Health; 11:00 a.m. EST.  This event will be held virtually and is free.
  • Gospel concert featuring Karew Entertainment artist Kierra Sheard; 7:00 p.m. EST. This event will be held virtually and is free. 

Saturday, Aug. 15

  • Community support at Sawyer Point- 12:00-6:00 p.m.- featuring COVID-19 testing, voter registration, school supply giveaway, food box giveaways, and a food truck rally. COVID-19 safety procedures and protocols will be followed.
  • Urban concert featuring Kenny Lattimore; 7:00 p.m. EST. This event will be held virtually and is free. 

Sunday, Aug. 16

  • Sunday worship service feat. Pastor John Gray as keynote speaker; 11:00 a.m. EST. This event will be held virtually and is free.