Local NAACP celebrates Juneteenth in Christiansburg.
On Friday, June 17, the Youth Council of the Montgomery County/Radford City/Floyd County branch of the NAACP held a celebration of Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, held on a Saturday close to June 19, celebrates the date that the last of the slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom after the end of the Civil War in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
The celebration, attended by more than 180 people, was held at the Rosa L. Peters Playground, on Depot Street in Christiansburg, and featured healthy food, healthy activities, and a look at economics, wellness, education and community. From the time of the first Juneteenth, people have gathered to express thanks, sing, eat, dance, listen to speakers, and pray. These gatherings give folks a chance to reflect on how to draw positive lessons from the past and turn them into productive plans for the future.
Crasha Townsend, advisor to the Radford University NAACP college chapter and Corey Miles, a graduate student at Virginia Tech, were co-emcees for the event. The Youth Council opened with the history of Juneteenth and a poem about freedom.
Deejay Mickey Hickman provided day-long entertainment and music for line dancing. Thirteen year old, Donia Abdelrahman sang a beautiful version of “Come Thou Fount”.
Christiansburg Mayor Mike Barber spoke in praise of the celebration and the community. Virginia Delegate Greg Habeeb, Delegate Nick Rush, and candidate for delegate Chris Hurst also offered a welcome and praise for the Juneteenth celebration.
The NRV Progressive Men’s Club had its traditional fish fry to benefit the NAACP Youth. This was supplemented by hot dogs and snacks offered by the Youth Council.
The local branch of the NAACP shared information on its committee work and their upcoming events. This year the branch will be sponsoring an event called Veterans’ Voices, a Parent Advocacy workshop in the fall, ongoing Voices & Vibes networking events, and the Freedom Fund Banquet in October.
Local community organizations were invited to set up information booths. These participants were given time in the program to describe their services available to the community. Many offered giveaways to visitors.
The Christiansburg Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department have been supportive mainstays at many Juneteenth celebrations. Christiansburg Community Center, Christiansburg Institute, and the Christiansburg Ruritans were among the local community groups. Carilion Health and the Virginia Cooperative Extension/Master Gardeners promoted healthy eating and lifestyles. Showing Up for Racial Justice and Virginia Organizing promoted community activism and the League of Women Voters encouraged voter registration. NRV Seventh Day Adventist Church had a booth and did a presentation.
Outreach to youth was a common theme amongst other organizations represented: Christiansburg Ruritan, NRV Progressive Men’s Club, and the Education Regeneration Group all support youth seeking education.
Shawanda Marie shared her New Orleans Creole Storypot (creolestorypot.com) to the delight of the audience.
There was even balloon twisting entertainment by Alphonso Garrett!
The swimming pool was open and the weather was beautiful for most of the day. Please watch for announcements and join the celebration next year.
— Submitted by Terry Goodson and James Klagge