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Festivities begin for Juneteenth weekend in Springfield

Festivities begin for Juneteenth weekend in Springfield
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 11:10 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The Juneteenth weekend kicked off Friday night in Springfield, as hundreds gathered to celebrate.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrating the emancipation of African-Americans in the United States. We visited Blunt Park in Springfield, to find out what it means to the city of Springfield and what’s in store for the rest of the weekend.

“It’s good for a lot of people to come out as a whole and unite. The world is going crazy right now and we need all of the unity we can get,” said Stanley Jackson of Springfield.

Springfield residents and businesses gathered at Blunt

Park on Friday night to celebrate Juneteenth, a federal holiday held on June 19, when on that date in 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas learned of their freedom.

Friday’s event, hosted by the Juneteenth Jubilee Committee, featured games, food, music, a special showing of Black Panther, and fundraisers for community organizations.

“We got all our vendors out here, we’re selling t-shirts for $20...Anybody that purchases a t-shirt, goes towards our scholarship for the youth that we’re giving back to organizations and we’re giving back to the students in our community,” said Nicole Coakley of the Juneteenth Jubilee Committee.

We also spoke with businesses setting up shop at the vendor fair, who shared with Western Mass News what this weekend means to them.

“Juneteenth is about freedom, Pioneer Valley Project, we’re about freedom. Freedom to vote. People don’t understand where we come from with this, it wasn’t too long ago that we didn’t even have the right to vote,” said Gilfrey Gregory and Larry Coleman of the Pioneer Valley Project.

Including Tiffany Allecia, the founder of Black and Brown Wall Street, who said this year’s event carries added importance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We haven’t been able to gather like this in two years really… And so to be able to be here...It’s nothing but a blessing and so it feels like love, it feels like joy, and it feels like hope,” said Tiffany Allecia, founder and president of Black and Brown Wall Street.

She hopes the energy will last beyond just this weekend in western Mass.

“I know Springfield has a lot of issues that interconnect but we’re more than that and I believe the same energy that went into creating this beautiful weekend, we can bring that to our city daily,” explained Allecia.

The Juneteenth Jubilee Committee has a series of events in store for the remainder of the weekend, which include:

Juneteenth Jubilee Block Party at Court Square- Saturday, June 18th from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. This event will include musical performances, youth and business award presentations, complimentary food from local black-owned restaurants at the Taste of Dine Black, a vaccination clinic, informational vendors, Underground Railroad walking tours presented by PAHMUSA, and much more.

Juneteenth Jubilee Father’s Day Brunch - Sunday, June 19th from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Court Square.

Juneteenth Jubilee Interfaith Worship Service - Sunday, June 19th from 12:30 - 2:30 pm at Court Square.

Black Vivid - Sunday, June 19th from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Riverfront Park.