What do a prospective attorney and a potential stockbroker have in common? Plenty – if they are King and Queen of Asbury Park’s Juneteenth celebration. Nala Green and David Holman, both graduating Asbury Park High School seniors, began their reign on Saturday and will begin their college careers in September.  

In order to be considered for their roles the students had to have at least a 2.5 grade average and to write an essay on Juneteenth, in which they expressed their feelings and beliefs about the newly created holiday. Their advisor was Asbury Park High School teacher, Nancy Astrada.

David mused about what he might have felt had he been enslaved and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation or Juneteenth. He thought he would have gone through a wide array of feelings from shock and disbelief to anger at all he had endured, and finally joy, to the point of tears and anticipation at what he might now be able to achieve. He likened the experience of being freed to a goldfish that had lived only in a small bowl and suddenly was dumped into the ocean. Certainly free, but to what end?

Nala acknowledges that “there is still a long way to go to fix the problem of racism.”  She would like to see younger Black people unite and rally against the racism that still exists in this country.

Nala Green and David Holman are each awarded a $1000.00 scholarship at the Board of Education meeting on June 22nd from the Asbury Park Juneteenth Committee and Asbury Park Democrats. Also, shown here are Juanita Barnes and Nina Sumerlin. Credit: Giuseppe M. Grillo / Asbury Park Democrats

While both of them are grateful for the strides that have been made by Black people from 1865 until  now, and for the opportunities that have been afforded them, they know there are still miles to go.

They will each embark upon the next leg of their own journeys when they begin college in the fall.  Nala looks forward to attending Long Island University in Greenvale, NY, on the north shore of Long Island. She’ll be a Finance major, with an eye toward working on Wall Street. Right now she works at Mogo, in downtown Asbury. She also enjoys gaming, but her great love is writing.

David will begin his pre-law studies at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft and plans to transfer to Rutgers University to earn his law degree. When he’s not studying, he likes gaming, working out and painting. He enjoys creating landscapes with oils and pastels and says he’s pretty good with a paint brush, but his sister, Nyonah, is really good. He hopes she’ll go to art school.

Along with the great memories of the day, including riding in a sharp convertible in the parade, the King and Queen each received a $1,000 scholarship.

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Lorraine Stone is a founding member of the Asbury Park Reporter. She is a native of Asbury Park, a journalist, actress and a performance artist. She is also a founding board member of the Asbury Park Museum.

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