Juneteenth Lehigh Valley celebrates Black history, wins $10,000 state grant

Written by on April 26, 2022

Juneteenth Lehigh Valley celebrates Black history, wins $10,000 state grant

By Hayden Mitman
April 26, 2022

Juneteenth celebrations will return to the Lehigh Valley this year. And now, the local events will be supported by state money.

Statewide, nearly $90,0000 will go toward supporting Juneteenth celebrations. The money comes from a new state program called Journeying Toward Freedom

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Karen Britt, president of the Lehigh Valley nonprofit group Juneteenth Lehigh Valley, said that the local share is $10,000. The Lehigh Valley organization was one of seven statewide to receive funds.

“The grant will definitely help. At ArtsQuest, we will have four different bands,” she said. “And, besides the dancing, the poetry, all of that, it’s expensive to put on such an event.”

Britt says this year’s Juneteenth celebration will be a two-day, family-friendly celebration of African-American culture.

It’s set to begin Saturday, June 18, at the SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem, site of last year’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration. Then, a second day of festivities will be held Sunday, June 19, at Cedar Beach Park in Allentown. Flag-raisings will be held earlier in the week in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.

 “We do this in commemoration to the end of slavery, but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate and elevate the contributions of African Americans to the fabric of this nation,” said Britt.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed legislation that made Juneteenth an official federal holiday. 

The holiday marks June 19, 1865 — the day that news of the emancipation two years earlier reached Galveston, Texas, where the last remaining slaves learned they were free.

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