Dear YouthBuild Philly and Supporters: Black Lives Matter in our school, in our community and in our world. Today, we observe Juneteenth – a holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, enslaved people were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth or Freedom Day is a celebration of emancipation, but America still has a long way to go in the fight for racial justice. YouthBuild Philly is proud to celebrate this critical moment in black history and renew our commitment to fostering a genuinely equal and inclusive society. This holiday provides a great opportunity to support the Black-led organizations in our community who continue to work hard to elevate the lived experiences for African Americans.
That is why, YouthBuild Philly was excited to participate in the Juneteenth Parade and Festival at Malcolm X Park this year. The event kicked off on Sunday, June 18, from 10 am to 8 pm and invited various black-led organizations to attend the celebration as vendors. For example, YouthBuild Philly was invited to set up a table and tent at the event located in the center of the park near the pavilion. We had a great time fellowshipping with the community and speaking with residents about our program and the students we serve.
Other activities at the festival featured community resources, local craft and food vendors, youth activities, live music, and dance groups. Additionally, Philadelphia hosted the largest Juneteenth parade in the entire country, both celebrating the holiday and offering entertainment to the community. The parade went down 52nd Street starting at Parkside and ending at Larchwood and Malcolm X Park.
In conclusion, there is no better day to educate ourselves and others about racial equity, diversity and inclusion and their absence in much of America’s history. Therefore, let’s celebrate this year’s Juneteenth and many more to come and keep using our history to not forget the important and difficult work ahead.