Celebrating Juneteenth has become more and more popular with increased awareness of the holiday. This weekend, local towns will commemorate the holiday in a variety of ways.

A bill designating June 19 or 17 as a federal holiday was passed in the United States House on Wednesday, a day after the Senate was passed, with President Biden expected to sign the bill.

Locally, the Meriden-Wallingford NAACP Chapter will work with the Democratic City of Wallingford Committee for a celebration on June 10. The event is scheduled at Johanna Manfreda Fishbein Park in Wallingford on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.

“It’s really about confronting our history,” said Whitney Mooney, one of the event’s organizers. “But also bring racial justice education to the city and celebrate our black community.”

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of African-American slaves. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 and it came into effect on January 1, 1863.

But slaves were not freed in the South until the Union Army entered and took over from Confederation.

In Texas, this did not happen until June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced that the slaves were free. Texas was the last of the Confederate states to abolish slavery.

In 1866, former slaves held the first celebration of June 17 to commemorate the anniversary. In the years that followed, African Americans marked the occasion by organizing religious celebrations, festivals and barbecues.

Meriden City Councilor Sonya Jelks will be one of the speakers at Saturday’s event in Wallingford and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro will be in attendance. There will also be refreshments, music and food.

Jelks said she was delighted that there was renewed interest in celebrating and recognizing African American culture and history.

“I am grateful that they gave me the opportunity to include me in the event,” said Jelks. “So that we can continue to educate our community about the contributions of African Americans in the United States.”

Walton Brown-Foster, PhD. was a guest speaker at the Wallingford Public Library on Tuesday. She is professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University. His areas of research and teaching include African politics and African-American, racial and ethnic politics.

Brown-Foster presented information on the origin and history of Juneteenth and answered questions from approximately 30 people who participated in the Zoom call.

A recording of the presentation is available on the library’s You Tube channel https://tinyurl.com/5bh22y2j

Other ways to celebrate June 19:

–In New Britain, the People’s Coalition of Central Connecticut will host the second annual free celebration on June 10 at Stanley Quarter Park. The event is family-friendly with music, food and vendors. Speakers will also talk about the history of Juneteenth. The organization will also use this event to honor the lives lost due to police brutality.

–Yale African American Cultural Center will host food tasting at black-owned restaurants in New Haven. There will also be a self-guided tour and scavenger hunt throughout downtown New Haven. Those who complete the treasure hunt will be entered to win a prize. The event costs $ 6 for students and $ 10 for non-students.

–To celebrate Juneteenth in West Hartford, starting from West Hartford Town Hall, there will be a picnic for all ages. The picnic will include local DJs and artists. At 2:30 p.m., nationally and locally renowned artist Corey Pane will unveil his Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. mural on the library.

[email protected]: @ faith_williams2



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