Juliette Goff
Jennie Baker

SLS summer interns Juliette Goff and Jennie Baker write about their experience attending the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot's 20th Annual Family Food Fest, held in celebration of Juneteenth and Father's Day, through their work with Garry Harris, director of Center for Sustainable Communities, a signature partner of SLS.

This past Sunday, the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot hosted its 20th Annual Family Food Fest for Father’s Day. As Father’s Day landed on Juneteenth this year, there was lots of extra celebration and appreciation for African-American culture and experiences. The event began with a procession of the cooks and chefs to the music of African drums. 

After the kickoff honoring Black fathers, families came around to each of the 27 chef’s tables to sample their food. There was an abundance of amazing dishes, most showcasing high-quality southern cuisine. With meals ranging from collard greens to Creole inspired dishes, to cupcakes, there was a wide variety of foods represented, and there was even vegan and vegetarian food. It was a great opportunity to try different dishes and learn about amazing local Black-owned businesses. While people ate, they could watch the various performers, bands, and other events occurring on the main stage. All of the acts were extremely talented and kept the atmosphere lively. There was face-painting for the kids and even a dance-competition towards the end of the event. It was truly heartwarming to see so many families get together to appreciate one another, have fun, and support the community (especially after the pandemic). 

The event was put on by the Black community for the Black community in Atlanta. The event was a firsthand glimpse at how strong the community is. Many of the celebrities and activists already knew one another through their overlapping social spheres and work. Garry Harris, the director of the Center for Sustainable Communities, was able to introduce us to many of the social justice activists attending the event, as well as a few celebrities. We were even able to talk to Dr. John H. Eaves , who talked to us about his criminal justice work in Atlanta and encouraged us to continue working in environmental justice.