Juneteenth event in Allentown postponed due to weather, but will still be a holiday of celebration and reflection

Written by on June 19, 2020

Juneteenth event in Allentown postponed due to weather, but will still be a holiday of celebration and reflection

By Staci Inez

June 19th, 2020

Today, June 19, people throughout the country and in the Lehigh Valley celebrate Juneteenth. The day in 1865 when the last slaves were told they were free in Galveston Texas, even though the emancipation proclamation was signed two and a half years earlier.

An observance was planned in the parking lot of a downtown Allentown church this evening, but has been postponed a week out of concerns of rainy weather. WLVR’s Staci Inez reports this year the event will be about both celebration and reflection. 

 “We are not free until we are all free.”

Ashleigh Strange is with Lehigh Valley stands up. It’s a grassroots organization that advocates for the working class and progressive political change. It’s one of several groups hosting a Juneteeth observation event in allentown.

“We want to highlight stories of struggle, but we also highlight stories of resilience… stories of the fact that we’re still here…we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” said Strange. 

The event will be held at the resurrected life community church. Dr. Gregory Edwards is the reverend. He says at a time where black lives matter is being expressed daily, he wants to make sure black voices everywhere are heard. 

“We are done dying in this city…we’re done asking for permission to be made visible…we’re not going to be disposable. There’s a great deal of national unrest and actually we need that unrest to basically provoke the conscience of America,” said Edwards.

Edwards says it is also important to be an example and educate young black children in a way that isn’t practiced in some traditional schools.

“Pouring into them hope and by telling them that they are a people that come from scientists and mathematicians, and theologians, and philosophers. While other people’s we’re still living in caves, our folks were building pyramids…and i’m not trying to throw shame, but i’m just saying our young people don’t know where they come from. We are standing here because we are the survivors of people who could not be destroyed.” 

Strange says over the years she has seen Allentown come together as a community but there is still more work to be done in the valley. 

“Just outside of the city…driving to work every day i’d pass three confederate flags on the way to work and so it’s a real disconnect, but I believe this event can really loop it in and show that it’s about all of us.” 

And Strange says everyone is invited to the Juneteenth celebration. The event will focus on sharing stories, and celebrating and acknowledging emancipation and freedom.

Staci Inez WLVR News.


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