July 14, 2021 —The new official Juneteenth holiday was celebrated in downtown Lexington June 19 complete with music, dancing, food, and art. One of the attractions, the Kuumba Dance Ensemble performance at Hopkins Green drew the attention of Kendal residents Susie Lynch and Dorothy Schoeneman.
Susie and Dorothy had both spent time in Africa and the African dance troupe was an enjoyable reminder of their time and experiences there. “It was a bit nostalgic for me,” said Dorothy.
Susie made trips to Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia and other countries during her work in the 70s with a London based publishing company. At the age of 64, Dorothy served two years with the Peace Corps in 2000-01. While both had vastly different experiences, their global perspective is similar.
Dorothy taught health education to residents in Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa. “It was a great experience and I remember it with joy,” she said. One noticeable trait in the culture was respect for elders and the wisdom and experience they possess.
Susie had a different view of Africa, since she mainly dealt with government officials. It was only during side trips of her own that she got a glimpse of rural life. However, it was the warmth and welcoming spirit that she remembers most. “It didn’t matter who you were, the people were very engaged and interested.”
Embracing Culture and New Interests
Kendal residents overwhelmingly mention that interacting within the community and other residents is one of the best aspects of living at Kendal at Lexington. Whether it is discovering a new art exhibit, a local festival, or creating a new interest group among residents, the spirit of inclusion and exploration is evident.
This also closely aligns with Kendal’s overall mission and values of community, collaboration, and respect for each individual.
While Susie says it’s likely that other Kendal residents have visited Africa, attending the Juneteenth celebration with another resident who had experienced life in Africa made for an enriched experience. Both Susie and Dorothy are pleased to make their home at Kendal. They made plenty of friends and have many interesting conversations by sharing stories of their travels, life experiences and interests.
What is Juneteenth?
President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. June 19th marks the date word reached Galveston TX, in 1865 when Union Soldiers informed African-Americans of the end of slavery in the United States.