South Portland to rejoice Juneteenth holiday getaway

The South Portland Human Legal rights Commission is gearing up for a Saturday for its first celebration of Juneteenth, the vacation marking the stop of slavery in the United States.

The Metropolis Council voted unanimously on June 10 to realize June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Working day in the city  and on June 15 voted to show the Juneteenth flag outside the house metropolis hall from June 18-21.

Portland-dependent musician Kafari will be conduct at the Juneteenth occasion, together with Kenya Hall. File photo / Sunshine Journal

The free of charge celebration, which also will honor Entire world Rufugee Working day, which is June 20, will contain ice product, household actions and tunes from funk and soul performers Kenya Hall and Kafari, will be held from 3-5 p.m. June 19 at the gazebo in Mill Creek Park. The Human Legal rights Commission organized the festivities in partnership with the metropolis, said fee Chairperson Pedro Vazquez.

“It actually is a neighborhood occasion,” he reported.

On June 19, 1865, officials in Texas formally recognized President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, turning into the closing point out in the union to officially abolish slavery. The date has considering that been regarded as a pivotal moment in African-American historical past, but Vazquez explained it has long gone largely unmentioned in colleges nationwide.

“Our educational establishments have not informed the whole story,” he stated.

New activities, together with the demise very last yr of George Floyd although in the custody of white law enforcement officers in Minneapolis and the increase of the Black Lives Matter motion that followed, spurred the South Portland council to much more formally figure out June 19 as a holiday break.

Nationally, Congress voted this 7 days to declare June 19 a national holiday getaway, officially designating it “Juneteenth National Independence Working day.” The U.S. Senate voted for the new vacation on Tuesday, followed by the Residence vote on Wednesday.

“That’s huge,” Vazquez reported prior to the House vote. “It is really encouraging to see the Senate get that action.”

City Councilor Deqa Dhalac, who programs to go to Saturday’s function and participate in a studying of the council’s proclamation regarding Juneteenth, also speaking in advance of the Dwelling vote, identified as the Senate vote “encouraging and strong.”

Dhalac agreed with Vazquez that the holiday justifies far more notice and recognition, but credited functions nationwide in 2020 with driving awareness of the date’s importance.

“There is a first time for every thing, and I believe that George Floyd’s demise brought persons to actually understand what is taking place in this region,” she reported.

Dhalac reported she believes Saturday’s Juneteenth celebration signifies an chance for instruction, and hopes this will be the initial of several such functions.

“I’m confident there is going to be far more functions like this coming along,” she reported.

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