Downtown Westminster will host live entertainment, food vendors, food trucks, panel discussions and activities for children Saturday, to mark Carroll County’s first Juneteenth celebration.
The event, aimed at being an annual celebration, will take place noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, at the Carroll County Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., and the surrounding area. Anyone may attend this celebration for free.
Juneteenth, short for June 19, commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. It marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were informed that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been signed by President Abraham Lincoln more than two years earlier.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making the day a federal holiday to be celebrated every June 19. This year, the date falls on a Sunday, and the federal holiday will be recognized on Monday, June 20.
Rodney Morrison, president of the NAACP Chapter of Carroll County, said he hopes the event sheds light on the history of Juneteenth and the importance of celebrating African Americans’ freedom.
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“I hope [Carroll County residents] see it as an opportunity to see that as people we can come and celebrate the freedom of others and move forward together … as well as not go back to a time where information is not transparent and people are not being given the proper information to move forward,” Morrison said.
Festivities kick off at noon, Saturday, outside Grace Lutheran Church, with the reading of a proclamation by Westminster Mayor Mona Becker said.
“It is so important to have public recognition of Juneteenth. It’s a holiday that is about liberty and freedom,” Becker said. “To not only recognize and honor the path that people of color have traveled in the past, but to consider where we are as a nation today and how we can evolve for a better future.”
The Rev. Dr. Richard Lindsey of the Union Street United Methodist Church will follow Becker, and deliver a spiritual message about the history of Juneteenth. Attendees are then invited to enjoy an afternoon of food, informational panels and live entertainment.
Scheduled to perform at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday are The Chosen Vessels of Maryland, the Rev. Floyd Westbrook, Terry McDonald and GROW Mission. A panel discussion will address the topic, “An Honest Conversation About Being Black in Carroll County,” in the Arts Center at 3 p.m.
This inaugural event is a collaboration among the Carroll County NAACP branch, McDaniel College, Carroll Community College, The Carroll Media Center and The Carroll County Arts Council.
To learn more about this event, visit https://carrollcountyartscouncil.org/event/juneteenth-in-carroll/.