June 2021

City leaders, community members host Juneteenth celebrations across central Ohio

Courtesy of WBNS 10TV
By Brandon Bounds
June 19, 2021

Juneteenth was celebrated across the nation, including central Ohio. Events were held to commemorate its history and educate the community.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Around the nation, the Black community is celebrating Juneteenth.

It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. It was about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Southern states.

President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday creating “Juneteenth National Independence Day.”

Events were held in Columbus and other cities in central Ohio, including Reynoldsburg and Bexley.

People gathered at Goodale Park to celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday, which was the theme of the annual Juneteenth Jubilee.

“Everybody’s staying together. That’s what’s up. It’s a great thing It’s good vibes,” said Mareeka Kasette, of Columbus.

“I want to bring us together and show us our resilience, our pride, our beauty, our creativity,” Kiara Yakita said. “I want people to see all of the things that are inherently good about Black people.”

Reynoldsburg held its second annual Juneteenth event at Huber Park, calling it a “celebration of resilience.”

People were able to visit different food trucks and get a COVID-19 vaccine shot at the pop-up clinic.

City Mayor Joe Begeny and councilwoman Meredith Lawson-Rowe were excited to see people attending the event and celebrating.

“We’re all here to celebrate Juneteenth and to lift up our culture,” said Lawson-Rowe.

The Columbus Urban League and Central Ohio African American Chamber of Comme held their annual Fishing with Dad event along with A Taste of Juneteenth

Natasha Hall is a part of the Columbus Urban League and owns her own store. Hall says that it’s important to share the positive things happening in the Black community.

“I love anything positive that’s going on in the community because there’s definitely a lot of things that aren’t positive,” said Hall. “Anything that brings the community is something I love to be a part of.”

“Juneteenth, to me, means independence. It means I can do it. [Black people] had so many things against them and they didn’t stop. Juneteenth, to me, is don’t give up. We can do it”

At Capital University in Bexley, organizers of Bexley Minority Parent Alliance say they have spent months getting things ready for their event.

Manika Williams, who is a member of the organization, said her group is happy to celebrate the historic day.

“Today while we are celebrating, we also made sure we were intentional in educating our community on the importance of the emancipation of enslaved Americans,” she said.