Lorain honored Juneteenth with numerous events to signify emancipation of African Americans from slavery in Texas about 2 1/2 years after the rest of the country.
Each event was well-attended and offered a different aspect of African-American culture.
Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley attended the events and offered support for the community.
Harrison Cultural Community Centre
Harrison Cultural Community Centre holds the right of Juneteenth Celebration in Lorain.
In 1997, under the leadership of Ruth Palmer, the Harrison Cultural Community Centre acquired a certificate with the State of Ohio. A handful of organizations in the state hold an active Juneteenth license but Harrison has the oldest active license.
Harrison, located at 1922 Hamilton Avenue, continued a traditional celebration albeit in a smaller capacity in order to maintain social distancing.
Board and community members jammed out while enjoying the cultural significance of the Harrison building.
Vonisha Isom-Massey, Director of the Harrison Centre, says she hopes to see more collaboration in future Juneteenth celebrations.
“We are working toward the goal of unity and being one band with one sound,” Isom-Massey said.
Elyria and Lorain YWCA and the Lorain County Metro Parks sponsored the annual Bluesfest, organized by Jeanine Donaldson, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Lakeview Park.
Event goers either camped out by the fountain to enjoy the live music by Da Land Brass Band, Hubb’s Groove and Suga Lee, or journeyed inside Sunset Cafe for various exhibits.
The Corvette Club from Akron also made a debut.
Although COVID-19 protocol restrictions have been lifted, a Pop-Up Clinic for vaccinations and FEMA Team members were available to supply mental health self-care literature.
General Johnnie Wilson Park
The second annual grassroots Juneteenth event sponsored by local entrepreneurs. Dominic Price, Kimyatta Hawthorne and Shatela Evans offered a more relaxed atmosphere for community members to purchase from vendors and enjoy free food.
The celebration was held at General Johnnie Wilson Park on Plant Street.
Evans says a major goal was for people to discover new businesses and the majority of vendors were completely sold out of product or merchandise by the end of the event.
A football agility competition for youth was held and the Steelemen team was awarded a trophy and $500 by organization Fit For Youths.
“We just can’t wait until next year,” said Hawthorne.
The year 2021 marked a record celebration for African Americans as Juneteenth was officially signed into legislation on June 17 by U.S. President Joe Biden and went into effect immediately.
Juneteenth was the first national holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday in 1983.