Juneteenth Celebration Focuses on “Moving Forward Together”
It was a day for celebration, reflection and moving forward in mind, body, and spirit at Bristol’s Waterfront Park for the Lower Bucks Juneteenth Celebration.
From the historical poetic perspective of Louise Davis, a descendant of Harriet Tubman’s, to the free expression of emancipation through spoken word, dance, hip-hop and ethnic foods, the day offered something for everyone to celebrate.
Organizers Keevon Johnson, Wondie Lynette spoke to the power and influence of Sunday’s celebration with their minds eye set on the generations to come.
“Our theme is moving forward together. We have a couple speakers here today that are going to speak to that theme. We really wanted to send a message that we need to move forward together….the pandemic caused a lot of loss and grief in the community”
The recent grief Johnson pointed out was temporarily suspended with dance troupes performing in front of the Harriet Tubman Monument, cheered on by hundreds who came to support the event and its mission.
Lynette, an educator at heart, spoke to the power of the holiday and why Juneteenth is celebrated.
She said its important for current and future generations to know because many don’t understand that it is in fact a holiday.
“We should always pay homage for what our ancestors have done for us, but we need to celebrate how far we come and how far we can continue going,” she said.
The history of the holiday, she said, dates back hundreds of years, and still many don’t know or understand the genesis for the celebration started in 1865. Slaves living in Texas found out they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, then President Abraham Lincoln signed in 1863, two years later.
That announcement followed a celebration one year later marking the day historians say.
Not every state recognizes designation at the state level. according to Pew Research Center. That had little impact on yesterday’s celebration though.
“The organizers did an incredible job creating a meaningful community event. It’s wonderful to see so many people come to Bristol to celebrate Juneteenth, and this year feels extra special as the 1st anniversary of Juneteenth being recognized as a federal holiday,” said Democratic Congressional Candidate Ashely Ehaz as she fused into the independence celebration.
Lower Bucks Juneteenth committee member, Massa-bu Tulay, also a career educator pointed the differences among and between African Americans, for example, as an important aspect of the freedom celebration.
We all come from different places with different names and have a unique but different life experiences, she said,
That’s what makes the celebration so special, and unique, she said.
The celebration also included a special ceremony where children pinned their fathers to commemorate Fathers Day too.