As I reflect on Juneteenth and why it is celebrated, I can’t help but think about Texas where in 1865 it was first celebrated nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves to be free was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Juneteenth represents and commemorates the freedom of the remaining enslaved people in the United States. The celebration of the day began in Texas and gradually spread throughout the South and finally all of the United States.
“The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.” –Maya Angelou
Activists came together in recent years to lobby for Juneteenth to be a national holiday. Members of Virginia Organizing worked with many other groups to have Juneteenth become a state holiday as well. And chapters have participated in local celebrations, sometimes creating a tradition in their areas. In Christiansburg, Waynesboro, and now Wythe County, members have helped to make sure Juneteenth is celebrated in their communities for the first time.
If you would like to participate in local Juneteenth events, here are a few we will be attending. Hope to see you there!
June 17-19 at the Jefferson Center, 233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903
June 18 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Exmore Town Park, 3305 Main St, Exmore, VA 23350 (Parade at noon)
New River Valley
Members will attend two local celebrations:
1. June 18 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Rosa Parks Playground, 300 Depot St NE, Christiansburg, VA 24068, sponsored by the Montgomery County- Radford City-Floyd County NAACP (Branch 7092)
2. June 19 from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Wilderness Museum, 5240 Wilderness Rd, Dublin, VA 24084, sponsored by the Calfee Community & Cultural Center, the Wilderness Road Regional Museum, and Pulaski County Library System
June 19 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., “Faith-Walk Juneteenth Celebration 2022: Still Walking at Mill Point Park,” 100 Eaton Street, Hampton, VA 23669
June 19 from 12 – 4 p.m. “Juneteenth Freedom Festival” at King-Lincoln Park, 600 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23607
June 19 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Ridgeview Park, 700 Magnolia Ave. sponsored by the Waynesboro Branch of the NAACP
June 18 from 1 – 4 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church Yard, 275 E. Main St., Wytheville, VA, sponsored by the Wythe County Chapter of Virginia Organizing and St. John’s.
On behalf of the State Governing Board, I’d like to wish you and your family a joyful Juneteenth this weekend,
Board Member, Eastern Shore Chapter