On Saturday, August 21, the Huntington Anti-Bias Concert will take place in Heckscher Park, at the Chapin Rainbow Stage, from 1-4pm. The concert is free and is meant to raise awareness of bias and support inclusivity in the Town of Huntington (TOH).
The event is the brainchild of two rising seniors at Harborfields High School, Jacob Siegel and Sharon Lin. “We decided to do this because we saw an increase in acts of hate towards Asian-Americans, especially in New York City,” said Jacob. “We wanted to do as much as we could to help, so this concert was created.”
Jacob and Sharon are passionate about the project and have been working on it since early April. When they presented the idea to Legislator William Spencer, he suggested that they reach out to Kevin Thornbourne, the Director of Minority Affairs for the TOH. Mr. Thornbourne is also a youth leader, and partners with students from local schools to network while engaging in community service. He noted that when he was contacted by Jacob and Sharon, they already had an extensive plan in place. “I was blown away by how they had everything planned out,” he said; he’s been meeting with Jacob and Sharon weekly ever since.
The concert was initially meant to be a virtual event, but the team was able to get the proper permits for an in-person experience in Heckscher Park. There will be live performances from some of the best talent from each of the nine TOH high schools, in addition to other local performers. Community speakers will be present to help raise awareness about issues related to intolerance, prejudice, discrimination and racism in any segment of our town.
The concert is presented by the Huntington Anti-Bias Task Force (which includes the African American, Asian American and Hispanic Advisory Task Force branches), TOH board members, Suffolk County Legislators Tom Donnelly and William Spencer, and the Tri Community & Youth Agency (Tri CYA). Town of Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol and her staff were praised for their help in making this concert possible.
Councilwoman Cergol told the Journal that the concert was conceived by our youth, particularly Jacob and Sharon. She said that the collaboration among the Anti-Bias Task Force, town board and local students has been very inspiring. “It’s so important to hear the perspective and ideas of our youth, who are our future leaders, particularly on subjects that can be difficult to discuss like bias,” Councilwoman Cergol said. “But, time and again, I have learned that by bringing out our differences and unique perspectives, we almost always learn that we have far more in common than we thought.”
“Not to oversimplify, but at our basic human core, all we want and need to thrive in life is love,” she continued. “In these divided and confusing times, we can only get to love by mutual respect and understanding.”
Concert admission is free, but attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable donation to benefit the Tri CYA food pantry. The Tri CYA is a private, not-for-profit community-based agency that’s dedicated to supporting the growth and development of youth and their families. For more than 40 years, Tri CYA has provided educational, recreational, athletic, counseling and advocacy programs for the TOH youth.
Concert performers include the Huntington Choir, Tri CYA group performances, local singers Izzy Potter (a Northport High School student), Ta’Tianna Lane, Finbar Mac and Anaya Watkins, student group performers, and more.