Allentown residents commemorated Juneteeth with a flag raising ceremony today

Written by on June 19, 2020

Allentown residents commemorated Juneteeth with a flag raising ceremony today

Tyler Pratt

June 19, 2020

Allentown residents commemorated Juneteeth with a flag raising ceremony today. It was originally set to be at city hall but organizers said they wanted to have it somewhere else in the community – a local high school. 

Juneteenth, a holiday that honors when the last slaves in America were freed – two years after emancipation. Before the flag was raised at William Allen High School, Yamelisa Taveras spoke to the crowd in attendance. 

“I can see we have a lot of elected officials, however today this is our forum. So even though we thank you for being here, thank you is general – it is for the community,” said Taveras. 

Taveras is a local advocate for underprivileged and marginalized communities in the Valley. She says she wanted to hold the event at the school because it’s home to the first black student union in the area. Quinton Stewart is in the union and also a flag bearer.

“It means a lot for my people, Black people – a lot for the community – seeing a lot of people that are supporting us.”

The flag is the Pan-African flag. Three colors: red, green and black. It was created a century ago to represent the people of the Africa diaspora and Black freedom. 

Rodney BE is a Wiliam Allen graduate and now works to help support kids at the school.

“As a culture we were raised to celebrate 4th of July as an independence day – as i got older and i started learning more about my culture…about my people – my independence day is juneteenth.” 

BE also had a message for elected officials in the crowd. He said the community will not not be slowing down in the fight for equality in the Lehigh Valley. 


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