Editor’s note: This event has been rescheduled for June 26 due to rain in the forecast.
Resurrected Life Community Church in Allentown will hold their inaugural Juneteenth celebration Friday, June 26 from 5 – 7 p.m. The event will take place outdoors in the facility’s parking lot, located at Ninth and Turner streets. Masks and social distancing are required. A livestream of the event will also be made available, likely through the church’s Facebook page.
“We are working together to stop police brutality, gerrymandering, gentrification and injustice right here in the Lehigh Valley, while also celebrating what makes the black community wonderful,” the organizers posted on their Facebook event page.
Juneteenth is celebrated in observance of the day African Americans gained freedom from enslavement in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, remote areas of Texas failed to comply until a federal order was read by a Union general in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865, marking the date of the celebration.
There have long been calls to make Juneteenth a federal holiday and the conversation has accelerated. On Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney declared Juneteenth an official city holiday and all city offices and facilities will be closed in observance. In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a proposal to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday.
Similar declarations and proposals have been made across the country. A growing list of businesses have also announced they will be observing Juneteenth.