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J'Ouvert 2020 To Honor Essential Workers: What You Need To Know

Instead of its usual Labor Day parade, the annual festival will include a ceremony honoring essential workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Annual Predawn J'ouvert Celebration In Brooklyn Marks Starts Of Caribbean Carnival, 2017.

The J'Ouvert festival — which typically sends thousands of people streaming through Brooklyn to kick off Caribbean Carnival celebrations — will look different this year thanks to the coronavirus crisis.

But the day won't go unmarked.

J'Ouvert City International, the group that organizes the annual festival, has planned a celebration of essential workers in place of its usual Labor Day pre-dawn parade.

The event will honor frontline workers from the coronavirus crisis as well as J'Ouvert Steelband members who were lost to the virus during a morning press conference and breakfast, according to the organization.

"Our Caribbean cultural traditions are strong and our J'Ouvert City International brand has been one of its most vibrant medium of expression in Brooklyn, New York for the past 36 years," President Yvette Rennie said. "For this year, COVID-19 may have silenced our street music but it cannot stop the music in the hearts of our steelband and masquerade proponents."

J'Ouvert typically kicks off the West Indian Day Parade, which will head online this year.

Here's what you need to know about this year's celebration:

  • Where: In front the Post Office on Empire Boulevard between Nostrand and Rogers avenues, which is part of the usual J'Ouvert morning parade route.
  • When: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • What:
    • 15 essential workers will be honored, including nurses, aides, homeless shelter advocates, MTA workers and the Mayor's Crisis Management System.
    • Several J'Ouvert Masquerade and Steelband groups who participated in the 2019 parade will also be among the awardees.
    • Special honor will be given to Martin "Dougie" Douglas, Hansel "Hanny" Leon and Oscar Williamsthree icons of the J'Ouvert Steelband movement who we sadly loss to the coronavirus, as well as Mr. Neville Jules one of the notable pioneers and innovator in the steelpan community died in early February.

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