UTICA, N.Y (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – A pre Juneteenth kick-off is taking place this Saturday at Kemble Park. The purpose of having a pre event is to get ready for the official day on June 19th. There will be local vendors selling clothing, natural products and food. A basketball tournament will take place, live music, speakers and more. The event is open to everyone.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 which was intended to free slaves but not everyone acknowledged it until June 19 of 1865.
The holiday which is now recognized on a national level is a day to celebrate freedom.
“Even though we may have been held back for that time, we still are to now be free and celebrate that. In this event we wanted to basically bring awareness to our young people. A lot of times some of us who are more seasoned or older may known what Juneteenth is but now because it is finally recognized on a national level, a lot of our young people are inquiring about what exactly Juneteenth is.” – Vanessa Tucker, Event Coordinator
“It means so much because it’s our freedom. It has always been things just on July 4th, it’s never big for us, for the black community. We want to make it big and this is just a step. We’re going to go bigger every year.” – Cathy Graham, Visionary of Event
The event will be from 11am to 6pm.