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West Hartford’s Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration Returns Saturday

Friendz World Music Group preforming at West Hartford Juneteenth celebration. Photo Credit: Bridget Bronsdon (we-ha.com file photo)

The West Hartford Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration will be held Saturday, June 15, from noon to 4 p.m. at Town Hall.

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The public is invited to a day filled with inspirational messages, music, vendors, art, and activities for all ages at West Hartford’s fourth annual Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration on Saturday, June 15, from noon to 4 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall.

This year’s Juneteenth festivities kick off at noon. The event features keynote speaker Frank Mitchell, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Curator at Large, and Curatorial Adviser for the Toni N. and Wendell C. Harp Historical Museum at New Haven’s Dixwell Q House.

Carmen Veal Conway, founder of Brown Skin Women, will emcee the celebration. West Hartford student Kristina Taylor (Conard) and Town Councilor Carol Blanks will share reflections on the importance of celebrating this federal holiday.

Music and dance performances include Nekita Waller, Connecticut’s former State Troubadour, Friendz World Music, beats by DJ B-EZ, Jazz by the Haneef Nelson Trio, poet T’Challa Williams, and student performers Kayshawn Savage (Hall), Lyric Bryant (Bristow), and Emma Billings (KP). Sirina Garba (Conard) will sing the Black National Anthem.

There will also be a ceremony to honor the legacy of a West Hartford community leader, Earl Exum.

Join the Posh Paint crew to create one-of-a-kind artwork for Juneteenth. Young and old alike can participate in a hula-hoop or jump rope contest. There will also be Juneteenth Bingo and Trivia for the kids. Juneteenth Community Day culminates with a community dance party. Free Juneteenth commemorative swag bags will be given to the first 250 attendees.

Be sure to visit the Health & Wellness Expo.

This event is brought to you by The Connecticut Museum of Culture and History and the Sustainable CT Match Fund Grant. Event partners include Concerned Parents of Color of West Hartford, RiseUP for Arts, WHAASCO, John P. Webster Library of First Church West Hartford, School of Rock, the Town of West Hartford, West Hartford Public Schools, and West Hartford Public Library.

Two related events will also take place on Saturday, June 15. Children’s author Charnaie Gordon will lead a Juneteenth Storytime at 1 p.m. for children ages 3-6 at the Noah Webster Library, 20 South Main Street.

The Annual Hidden History ceremony will also be held in the library’s community room on Saturday, June 15, at 10:30 a.m. Be part of reading the names of the 59 people students have commemorated over the past seven years. These individuals who lived more than 200 years ago tell stories of both enslavement and freedom, the themes of Juneteenth.

“We will gather to tell the stories of Chloe and Tack, Bristow, Jude, Andrew, Tamar, Lydia, Isabella, and Daniel,” said Town Historian Tracey Wilson.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/WHJuneteenthCelebration.

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