Juneteenth Decatur: City Holds First “Celebration of Liberated Spaces”

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Established by the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights in partnership with the City of Decatur, a celebration of Juneteenth will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the city square on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

The themes of the family-focused event are “Liberate, Educate, Celebrate” and the day will include a youth art and mural project, vendors, and music. On the one year anniversary of the removal of the Confederate monument, advocates and activists from around Georgia will share stories and lessons from their organizing to remove symbols of white supremacy in their local communities. “Together we can propel and sustain the movement for the removal of symbols of hate through collaboration across communities in the South. We invite activists and advocates to join us on Juneteenth for support and inspiration during this time of celebration,” said Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights Co-Chair Fonta High.

Juneteenth recognizes the day in Galveston, Texas, when enslaved Africans finally heard the news of their freedom two and one half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. During the early 1900s, there was a decline in Juneteenth celebrations but a resurgence of the holiday began during the Black Freedom Movement of the 1960s. On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas and in 2011, Georgia became the 37th state to recognize the day. Today, Juneteenth is observed in over 200 cities. It is a symbol of the end of chattel slavery and the continued fight for freedom for African descendant people.

The purpose and goals of the event include educating the community about the meaning of Juneteenth; bringing together a diverse community to celebrate liberated spaces; celebrating the removal of the Decatur Confederate monument one year ago, educating the public about the harmful impact of hate symbols; mentoring and educating about anti-hate activism; promoting economic opportunity through a marketplace; showcasing local entertainment talent; self-expression through art; and providing a platform for community outreach and information. Mayor Patti Garrett stated, “As we remember the removal of the Confederate obelisk on Juneteenth 2020, the City of Decatur is proud to be a partner in planning the first official Juneteenth event, and we look forward to this being the first of what we hope becomes an annual tradition.”

“This will be a truly grassroots and community effort,” said Meymoona Freeman, a co-founder of the Stone Mountain Action Coalition, an advocacy organization working to refocus Stone Mountain Park around themes of racial reconciliation and justice. “Art, music, and education can bring people together in unity,” she added.

For more information on the Juneteenth celebration, activists, vendors and media may contact transformation88.3@gmail.com.

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