ALBANY, NY (WNY News Now) — A new initiative is celebrating Black culture across New York State.
Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater last week to announce a new initiative to celebrate Black culture.
The dance theater was founded in 1958 by Alvin Ailey “dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience.”
“We’re here to celebrate that as part of Black history. And that’s just a beautiful sentiment of what he left and what Black History Month means, what Black culture means. And I’m really excited to make an announcement here today that we are going to be launching through I Love New York Tourism, the I Love New York Black Travel Initiative,” boasts Hochul. “First time ever. First time ever to celebrate unparalleled Black history and culture right here in New York State and welcome more Black travelers to our state, as well as encouraging local residents to understand that story.”
The Governor hopes that the initiative will allow residents to discover the stories of their neighbors and gain an appreciation for what is happening around them.
Sites across the state like the North Star Underground Railroad Museum in Ausable Charm, the Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo, the John Brown Farm State Historic site in Lake Placid, and the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park in Auburn are amongst the many places to be highlighted by the initiative.
“Studies show that Black travelers are making a more significant share of leisure travelers – 64 percent of Black travelers surveyed said that the availability of Black cultural sites in history is part of their decision making on where to go. So, you put that together, more individuals are traveling. This is part of their thought process in deciding their destination. And so, that’s what we’re going to capture. That’s who we’re going after. And it also tells the story of New York State, the good, the bad, areas to improve,” says Hochul.
Sites will include cultural destinations, areas of Black history and activism, abolition sites, historical Black figures, and prominent Black businesses.
The new initiative will come with its own marketing campaign to bring in tourism and to start conversations about Black stories.
“I want to share those stories with everyone. Every New Yorker needs to go experience that firsthand and be in awe of what individuals have done, who believe so deeply, not in their own security, their own safety, but are willing to break out to save other people and give them a better life. In that case, a life of freedom. That’s why we’re doing this. I want those inspirations to be there for our kids and people today and for the next generation,” says Hochul.
Hazel Dukes, President of the New York Conference of the NAACP, says she is excited to share the numerous contributions of Black New Yorkers with a new generation of travelers.