Weather Interrupts Black History Month Kick Off

By Miranda Reale

KINGSTON – Winter Storm Landon sent the city of Kingston into a state of emergency last Friday. The storm which was expected to create difficult and icy conditions for the weekend surpassed the preparation of the county’s emergency efforts as Mayor Steve Noble delivered an official state of emergency early Friday morning. With substantial numbers of tree limbs down and severe ice conditions, more than 50,000 residents of Ulster County had been affected by interrupted service and mass outages. Last Saturday, Central Hudson stated on social media that “More than 680 line and tree crews continue working today to make repairs and restore service. We expect to make significant progress today but damage in Ulster County has been extensive, after receiving more than 0.6 inches of radial ice. Roads are still closed in many locations, and we’re working with our municipal partners to get those cleared. Working through the night, we’ve been able to restore 18,000 customers so far … but there’s more work to do.”

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan declares February 2022 Black History Month, with special recognition of this year’s national theme of Black Health and Wellness.
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan declares February 2022 Black History Month, with special recognition of this year’s national theme of Black Health and Wellness.

Central Hudson customers would experience outages and service delays well into the weekend as restoration efforts continued into Tuesday night. Due to the severity of the storm, many events for the weekend were postponed or canceled.

The community-driven organizations, My Kingston Kids and Harambee Kingston, have partnered this year to present the fifth year of Black History Month Kingston with a series of celebration and community lead events the entire month of February. A roster of both virtual and in person events have been created with the help of local organizations and businesses to make this year as interactive and collaborative as possible. Unfortunately, this year’s commencement has been postponed due to the storm. Originally scheduled for last Saturday, February 5th, the kick off event will take place instead this Saturday, February 12th at 3pm.

This year’s theme focuses on Black health and wellness and the 25 events scheduled this month are dedicated to making this year a monumental one. Though the kick off event at the YMCA has been rescheduled, the organizers, city officials, and members of the community all gathered last Tuesday, February 1st, to witness the first lighting of the Ulster County Office building. Ulster County Executive, Pat Ryan and Tyrone Wilson, Ulster County Human Rights Commissioner, lead the community in illuminating the building yellow, green and red. “We want people to know that this is for the community, but it’s also for the world”, Wilson said. Among the speeches given at the event, Frank Waters, visionary and lead organizer of Black History Month Kingston, declared that “[This lighting] is the beginning, right here and right now.” Hoping to continue the lighting tradition year after year, Waters ended his speech highlighting Black History’s ongoing celebration as he urged everyone to download the newly designed mobile app, Black History Kingston. “There’s no month because Black history is all year long,” said Waters. Expect then to see updates and events throughout the year, not just February, showing that inclement weather like last Friday’s storm, will only be a small interruption to the many celebrations coming this month and beyond in Kingston.

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