News

Regional JUNETEENTH Celebration

posted: June 15, 2021

The local unit of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, has reemerged in the Susquehanna Valley.  But this is not your grandfather’s NAACP.  The Lycoming Tri-County Unit #2348 can be found online, on social media, and on zoom these days.  Look for them at www.naacptricounty.wordpress.com, on facebook @LTC.NAACP.2348 and on Instagram @naacplycotricounty.  The group has been holding events, conducting regular meetings, and working to address civil rights concerns in the area since getting reestablished in early 2020.  Along with its event partner, the CommUnity Zone, it has announced the date for the regional Juneteenth Celebration, as Saturday, June 19, 2021.  The big community gathering will convene in Brandon Park that day with the theme “Celebrating Who We Are.”

 

Juneteenth commemorates the day two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect when news of the end of the Civil War and the end of chattel slavery finally reached the farthest flung parts of the reunified nation, in Galveston, TX, during the summer of 1865. It is intended to be a day of joy, celebration, and a recommitment to the values of freedom and building a good community for all.

 

In north central PA this year, the main focus will be on the community celebration on Saturday, June 19, starting at the cemetery on Freedom Road at 9am.  We will pray in for the 10 fallen soldiers who are buried there, who sacrificed their lives to free Black people from chattel slavery.  And then we will hold a Peace Walk to Brandon Park.  The celebration at Brandon Park starts at 10:30am with a prayer and the singing of the Black National Anthem followed by greetings from Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter.  The keynote, culinary historian Adrian Miller, coming in from Colorado, will speak at 11:30am.  The agenda for the rest of the day at the bandshell is full of poems, spoken word, and dancing.  It will include Open Mic opportunities to allow the community to showcase homegrown talent. There will also be food trucks, art exhibits, and informational and historical displays.  There will even be a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic provided by River Valley Health and Dental between 11 and 3 — the first 50 people to get vaccinated that day will receive $5 Sheetz gift cards. And of course the event would not be complete without the opportunity for attendees to register to vote and join the NAACP.

 

Beyond just the day-of, there will be additional associated activities with the keynote speaker, culinary historian Adrian Miller, earlier in the week.  Those will include a lunch in Lewisburg and a reception for the event sponsors.  Mr. Miller’s books will be featured then as well as on Saturday.  The most recent title is “Black Smoke:  African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.”  The author was also recently featured in episode three of the Netflix docu-series “High on the Hog:  How African American Cuisine Transformed America.”  Visit www.soulfoodscholar.com to find out more about his work.

 

The events will be captured by talented regional photographer, Jetta Nicoline.  She is the founder of Meet My Melanin, meetmymelaninmovement.org, a program to showcase images and stories of Black, indigenous, and people of color in this region to both heal and reveal.

 

In addition to the CommUnity Zone and the Lycoming Tri-County NAACP, other organizational partners include the TLC (Transitional Living Centers), the Williamsport YWCA, the James V. Brown Library, the Lycoming United Way, the Bloomsburg Coalition for Social Equity, and the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way Diversity & Inclusion Impact Council.

 

Event sponsors include the Charles and Betty Degenstein Foundation, PPL, First National Bank, Bucknell University, Lycoming College, Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, the City of Williamsport, Overhead Door, First Quality Tissue, Woodlands Bank, UNC Press, Cricket Financial, Franco’s Lounge, and Trot Fitness.

 

For more information about the event, visit the Lycoming Tri-County NAACP website, call or text 570-360-9250, or email [email protected]



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