Russell Bottley was born and raised in Orange, and he sees this weekend’s June 19 community prayer service as a perfect opportunity to bring the community together.
The public is invited to attend the event at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Riverfront Pavilion on Simmons Drive in Orange.
“This is the first time our Mardi Gras team has organized an event of this nature,” he told me this week. “We planned it before the pandemic and had to put it on the back burner. Now he is reunited for this Juneteenth. With the national federal holiday, it worked very well.
Bottley is a member of Krewe De Onyx and a coach and community liaison with the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District.
Krewe De Onyx regularly renders service to the community, including sponsored cleanup events and projects for students and families in need during the holidays.
Back-to-school campaigns are also part of the krewe’s outreach efforts.
Bottley joked that Mardi Grad season is always fun, especially with all the celebration.
“During other times of the year, like now, we have this big event, which has been our baby for a year and a half,” he said. “The other things we try to do in the community is to help people. We don’t want any recognition. »
Bottley said prayer service organizers are nervous but excited for this weekend’s event. too.
“Now it’s coming to fruition,” he said. “I think we dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s.”
The prayer service is open to everyone. It does not matter the religion or denomination of the participants.
Organizers emphasize that the event aims to bring the community together.
Bottley points to a pretty solid lineup with Henry Lowe of the Orange African American Museum talking about the history of Juneteenth.
Father Jim Sichko, a native of Orange, a missionary priest, described by Bottley as a dynamic speaker, is also due to address the crowd.
“I hope this brings our community together more,” Bottley said. “With so much in the news about negativity and decision among communities, I hope little old Orange will start something special and put us on the map to bring our community and citizens together. Not only that fellowship, and we can just come together and have a prayer service, bringing communities together for our city and everything.
Regius Guillory, representing Krewe De Onyx, previously shared with Orange Newsmedia their reasons for hosting the Juneteenth festival, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the pavilion.
“With Juneteenth becoming a national holiday, we felt it was important for us to practice our civic responsibility and lead the community in commemorating and celebrating this historic day in Texas and United States history. “, said Guillory.
The inaugural event includes activities for the whole family. Live music, food vendors, non-food vendors and special appearances are all scheduled for the festival.
Stephen Hemelt is the publisher of Orange Newsmedia, which produces Orange Leader and orangeleader.com. He can be contacted at [email protected]