Report by Paula Antolini, April 27, 2022, 7:20PM EDT
Honoring our Heritage: Forging the Future
The Greater Danbury NAACP, WCSU Racial Justice Coalition and More
Juneteenth — National Independence Day — Celebration 2022 Danbury CT
Danbury, CT (April 25, 2022) – Juneteenth will be celebrated in the city of Danbury on Sunday, June 19th from 12-5PM at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU), Midtown Campus on 181 White Street and will lift up the theme that garnered the most votes by Danbury residents* — “Honoring our Heritage: Forging the Future”.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.
Fast-forward to 2021, in a great example of bi-partisanship the United States Senate voted unanimously on a resolution to make Juneteenth an American federal holiday. The Senate resolution officially establishes June 19th as “Juneteenth National Independence Day.” The day after the Senate passed the resolution, the United States House of Representatives also approved the resolution and President Biden signed the bill into law.
“Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self-improvement, with a range of activities provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today,” says Glenda Armstrong, President, Greater Danbury NAACP. In an effort to recognize and celebrate the rich history of this holiday and to highlight the extraordinary contributions made by African Americans to the community, the Danbury Juneteenth Coalition is planning a fun-filled day for the entire family – both young and old — with a curated roster of exciting activities that will take place throughout the day.*
Rahsaan Langley, one of Connecticut’s premier R&B singers, will be the musical headliner. There will be live entertainment by D.J. Frank Stewart and other music and dance performances by local artists, such as hip hop artist D.J. Gaines, with more being added. Also, Cultural & Historical Activities including a Juneteenth Exhibit and Walking Tour by the Danbury Museum, “Liberation” Juneteenth Visual Arts Celebration sponsored by the Cultural Alliance of Western CT and Panel Discussion featuring leaders from the fields of education, the arts, the non-profit sector, corporate and community leaders. Adjacent to the main area will be a Wellness Center providing FREE COVID-19 vaccinations and health screenings, Kids Corner with children’s activities, local vendors and informational resources, e.g., employment opportunities, a variety of food truck options and so much more! Because Juneteenth falls on Father’s Day this year, the celebration will also honor fathers with swag bags and other tokens of appreciation.
“The Racial Justice Coalition is actively committed to ensuring racial justice and inclusiveness at Western Connecticut State University and the community at large,” proclaimed Ree LeBlanc Gunter, Co-Chairperson, WCSU Racial Justice Coalition. “Therefore, we are thrilled to not only be a premier sponsor but to also host this year’s Danbury Juneteenth Celebration on our campus,” added Carina Bandhauer, Co-Chairperson.
Admission is FREE and open to the public. Pre-registration at https://www.wcsu.edu/tickets/ is preferred, but not a requirement. For those interested in volunteering, becoming a vendor or corporate sponsor, please contact the Danbury Juneteenth Coalition at DanburyJune19@gmail.com or on Facebook @DanburyJuneteenth.
* Source: Danbury Juneteenth Survey Monkey results – January 2022