FRAMINGHAM – A Juneteenth celebration was held on the Framingham Centre Common Saturday afternoon June 19.
On Thursday, President Joseph Biden made Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. Governor Charlie Baker signed into law in July 2020 making Juneteenth a Massachusetts holiday.
Organized by Framingham Community Vibes, the event features music, food, and fun.
“We are here to celebrates the shackles that were removed by those who came before us,” said Rick Utaegbulam, one of the organizers of the event. “Let’s not get it twisted, as there is still mental slavery running rampart, in this country.”
“This means hope. This means we are not giving up. Look how far we have come with our ancestors. Everything they have gone through to get to this point. Everything they gave up and sacrificed to get to this point. Without that, I would not be standing here right now. Without them, this would not be happening right now,” said Kianna Woodson of Framingham Community Vibes.
“For we will only be free when we can see and appreciate each’s other color but most importantly embrace each other’s humanity. That is when we will be free,” said Utaegbulam.
The event was attended by Mayor Yvonne Spicer and City Council Chair George P. King Jr. Rev. J. Anthony Lloyd from the Greater Framingham Community Church was in attendance as was District 2 and District 3 City Councilors Cesar Stewart-Morales and Adam Steiner.
According to Juneteenth.com, “Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.”
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