Bloomfield holds series of events to commemorate Juneteenth holiday

Bloomfield held a Juneteenth festival Friday night – the first of its kind. The two-day celebration began with education on the newly-recognized national holiday.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2021, 2:42 AM

Updated 1,038 days ago

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Bloomfield held a Juneteenth festival Friday night – the first of its kind. The two-day celebration began with education on the newly-recognized national holiday.
A panel discussion was held at Bloomfield High School. Mayor Mike Venezia says that he did not learn about Juneteenth when he attended Bloomfield High. It is something that the panelists want to change.
“Freedom ain’t free. You’re going to have to fight. You’re going to have to struggle, but it’s going to take everybody in this room and everybody that ain’t here,” says poet and activist Amina Baraka.
Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating June 19, 1865 – the day that the last slaves learned of their freedom. The celebration is centuries old, but some people are just learning about it recently.
“I think sometimes we get in positions that some people are scared to uncover history, so what outcomes it would bring. But don’t look at it that way. Look at it as an educational opportunity to move forward,” says Bloomfield Civil Rights Commissioner Kasey Dudley.
The mayor says that he did not learn about Juneteenth until about four years ago.
“We need to get uncomfortable to get comfortable for the future,” says Mayor Venezia. “And teaching our youth is the most important aspect of this.”
The debate over including Critical Race Theory in the school curriculum continues. Educator Dr. Djanna Hill-Tall says that it is a subject that shouldn’t be ignored.
“I just have my teachers try and teach the truth. I think this celebration, the history of it, definitely comes into K-12 curriculum because we’re talking about the history of this country,” Hall-Tall says.
Other events for the Juneteenth celebration include a reading of the Juneteenth proclamation, followed by a solidarity walk to Bloomfield College. There is also a street festival on Washington Street to highlight Black-owned businesses.


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