Oneonta's Juneteenth Festival returns to Neahwa Park on June 22nd beginning at 12 noon. Per the festival's website, it's a celebration of community, empowerment, and joy.

Destination Oneonta via Facebook
Destination Oneonta via Facebook
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The mission of the festival is stated as: "The Juneteenth Festival aims to build and strengthen the black community within Otsego County. However, in doing so, event goers from all backgrounds, economic standings, religions, sexual orientation and genders receive education that highlights Black art, food, music and creatives. The festival serves as a bridge to connect community members to informational resources for services locally, providing free food for all in attendance as well as a rich experience in interactive art-based activities."

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Juneteenth, observed each year on June 19th, marks the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the United States. The holiday began in Texas, where on June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, proclaiming the freedom of enslaved people in Texas. This announcement occurred more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had officially ended slavery in the Confederate States.

Destination Oneonta via Facebook
Destination Oneonta via Facebook
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Juneteenth represents the end of slavery and serves as a time to honor the struggles and achievements of African Americans. Celebrations typically include parades, festivals, educational events, and family gatherings, reminding everyone of the ongoing fight for equality and civil rights. The day also showcases African American culture, heritage, and contributions to society.

In 1980, Texas recognized Juneteenth as an official state holiday, paving the way for other states to follow suit. In 2021, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in the United States, acknowledging its historical importance and reinforcing the nation's commitment to addressing historical injustices. Juneteenth is both a celebration of freedom and a call to continue striving for racial justice and equality.

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