This festival aims to help Black children feel proud of who they are

Community festivals are perhaps as ubiquitous a summer pastime as neighborhood cookouts and cannonballs in the backyard pool.

But for three days this summer, a series of pop-up festivals has a specific and unique goal in mind.

The P.R.I.D.E. Program’s Pop Up Mini Art Festivals aim to help Black children “embrace their skin color, race, culture and heritage,” according to organizers. P.R.I.D.E. organizers also say this local series is one of the country’s only festivals created specifically for Black children.

Through art stations led by teams of artists and educators, young people attending the festivals have the opportunity make traditional Ghanaian kente cloths, New Orleans-inspired masks, African dolls and more.

“Our goal in all of our programming is to help young Black children between the ages of 3 and 8 understand and embrace their race, ethnicity and heritage with dignity and love,” said Medina Jackson, director of engagement for the P.R.I.D.E. Program.

This is the second year the P.R.I.D.E. Program, which is a part of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, has hosted the pop-up festivals. The first festival this year was held in East Liberty in July. Two more festivals will be held this summer — one on Aug. 25 at the Homewood YMCA and the final one on Sept. 15 at the Center for Nurturing Families in the Hill District. Both festivals run from noon to 4 p.m. Admission and food are free. For more information, visit the P.R.I.D.E. Program’s Facebook page.

Jourdan Hicks is a community reporter at PublicSource, she can be reached at jourdan@publicsource.org.

Ryan Loew is PublicSource's visual storyteller/producer. He can be reached at ryan@publicsource.org or on Twitter at @RyanLoew.