Hope Station’s 19th Annual Juneteenth Celebration
June 16th 1pm 4pm
There may not be any fireworks display or the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, but revelers at Memorial Park Saturday will be celebrating Independence Day.
Hope Station, the Carlisle-based nonprofit whose mission is to help foster a better quality of life for the community, is hosting its 19th annual observance of Juneteenth.
“It (Juneteenth) is Independence Day for African-Americans,” Hope Station Executive Director Jim Washington said. “It is when General Gordon Granger of the Union Army rode into Galveston, Texas, and told black people that they were free.”
Granger’s message was delivered to black people on June 19, 1865, more than 2 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was a directive to immediately grant freedom to slaves.
Lincoln’s directive had little impact on Texas because there were very few Union troops to enforce his order. It wasn’t until Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865 and Granger’s arrival in Texas that there were enough troops to overcome resistance and carry out Lincoln’s proclamation.
“It is our history and it is something we celebrate and will celebrate Saturday,” Washington said.
The celebration will include local churches, Bible schools, health services organizations and the YWCA. There will be an essay contest by students from Bellaire and Mooreland Elementary schools and performances by REACH! and the United Way’s Glee contestants.
Also, the United Way’s Taking it to the Streets outreach program will be on hand, Washington said.
“We have also lined up many community and faith-based organizations to share information about services and provide children’s activities,” United Way’s Kate Brazel said in an e-mail to The Sentinel Wednesday. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get the word out about community services in a fun, relaxed environment.”
The celebration is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. and Washington said he’s hoping for a big turnout.
“The attendance has been sporadic because, I think, we hold the event during the middle of the day, the heat of the day, and people choose to stay inside during that time,” Washington said. “But, I hope they realize how important this celebration is and come on out.”
Borough Councilman Tim Scott, the second African-American to be elected to council, is expected on Thursday to introduce a motion declaring Saturday as Juneteenth Day for Carlisle.
“Come out and see what it’s all about,” Washington said. “See what Hope Station is all about. You might enjoy it.”