MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - With a 7-0 vote, the Meridian Township Board voted to recognize and celebrate Juneteenth. This resolution follows a unanimous vote by the Senate declaring June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Juneteenth comes from the oldest celebration of the emancipation of African-American slaves. This celebration of black independence occurred June 19, 1866 in Galveston, Texas.
“Juneteenth is when the word finally got to Texas that, in fact, there was an emancipation proclamation and that the slave states were freed,” Supervisor Styka. “It is celebrated throughout the country and is an important date in our history.”
To honor the history of African-Americans and their resilience, Amber Clark, Township Neighborhoods & Economic Development Director, is putting on the Juneteenth Freedom Fest.
Clark said, “Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and the importance of the blood that was shed and shared across our great nation. It's a wonderful opportunity, we thought, as an inclusive activity.”
Small businesses around the community were invited to provide a gift card of ten dollars or more. These gift cards were then hidden in opposite businesses. The goal of this activity is to expose the community to new businesses they haven’t been to before.
Starting Friday June 18, the public is encouraged to take pictures of the gift cards they find to be entered into a grand prize drawing.
“We’ve come some way but we still have a long way to go when it comes to equity amongst our diverse cultures,” Trustee Courtney Wisinski said, “I think this [Freedom Fest] fits really great into our diversity and equity inclusion. This is a really great idea and I would love to see this incorporated long term.”
The Township Board has commemorated Juneteenth in the past and continues to take steps towards creating a community free of prejudice.
“This is just exciting and refreshing, the people we put on our team like Director Clark,” Manager Walsh said. “It just excites me to see our team getting better and better and the things we offer increasing.”
The Juneteenth resolution encourages the community to recognize the freedom of every human being and reject any form of oppression. Juneteenth Freedom Fest is set to take place June 18 through June 22, 2021.
For more information on the Freedom Fest visit the Meridian Township website. Information is located in the events section under economic development.