This Saturday, the Black Party returns to celebrate the Island’s rich African American culture.

Hosted by A Long Talk, the Black Party will take place at Waban Park on August 6 from 12 to 4 p.m. The event is part of the organization’s Community of Change partnership with Martha’s Vineyard.

“The idea was to make it like a block party, a place to bring the community together,” said Kyle Williams, founder and chief empowerment officer at A Long Talk.

The organization’s full name is A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth. Mr. Williams created A Long Talk after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and subsequent protests. Since then it has hosted anti-racism lectures and workshops across the Island and across the country, partnering everywhere from Ivy League universities to branches of the Catholic Church.

Mr. Williams chose Martha’s Vineyard as its flagship Community of Change partner due to his personal connection to the Vineyard and for the Island’s standing as an African American gathering place. He has been coming to the Vineyard for 50 years, he said, and while he noticed more and more Black events on the Island, none aimed to bring all six towns together — until now.

“Previously, you would see some parties at Inkwell Beach, but they were all separate,” Mr. Williams said. “In order to build community together, we need to come together and invite everyone to take part. We want people from Chilmark, people from Aquinnah, people from all over to come through.”

Although the event will highlight Black experiences in particular, Mr. Williams emphasizes that all are welcome to attend and celebrate. Admission is free and open to all ages.

“We’re not watering anything down,” Mr. Williams said. “We’re going to be unapologetically Black. Be as Black as you want to be. At the same time, we understand that not everyone comes from the same experience. We’re there to share, we’re there to teach. We’ll teach you how to two-step if you need it.”

Unlike A Long Talk’s typical programming, the Black Party is a break from lectures and Zoom breakout rooms, and instead a chance to experience Black culture as an Island community. The event will include a kickball tournament, live music, and a Children’s Carnival sponsored by Color of Change with face painting, storytelling, and games.

The Black Party is billed as a “party with a purpose,” as Mr. Williams believes that there’s more than one way to open minds.

“I chose Martha’s Vineyard, among other reasons, because it’s seen as a place that’s ‘not as racist’ or ‘non-racist,’” Mr. Williams added. “Part of the work we do is taking non-racism, which is passive, and activating it into anti-racism. We’re not trying to change racists’ minds. What we’re doing is taking non-racists and educating them and empowering them into being active, outspoken forces against racism.”

“If all it took was Black people to end racism, we would have done it by now,” he said. “We want to put an anti-racist at every dinner table in America.”

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