Juneteenth celebrated in Winchester

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Bright and sunny skies early Saturday morning continued into the afternoon. 

Thus, the weather was ideal to celebrate and recognize a unique day. 

Juneteenth, designated as a federal holiday in 2021, was celebrated for the third year in Winchester at Heritage Park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

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“We’ve had a nice crowd. They’ve gotten lots of information…that they need to know,” said Jacquetta Hudson, President of the Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee. “It’s getting bigger every year!” 

Juneteenth, officially recognized on June 19th, is celebrated to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States, honoring the date in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger ordered the last enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. 

Along with food trucks that included Fam’A’Licious and Hudson and Nash, several vendors were set up. 

They included Breaking Trail Jerky , Astrid’s Artisan Treasures, Pretty and Protected Keychains, and Cupful Cravings. 

Tim Wright’s Handcrafted, from Versailles, offered $5 off to all in recognition of Juneteenth. 

A number of community groups – such as the Clark County Equity Coalition, National Youth Advocate Program, and Leeds Center for the Arts – were also present. 

The Poynterville Steering Committee, who had made buttons, bracelets, and more recognizing Juneteenth, made an appearance too. 

“We’re looking to see if maybe we can get some businesses in the neighborhood or maybe just get some trust and belonging…and [make] sure everyone feels like they belong,”  said community organizer Bethel Hampton. 

Also pointed out were four GRC students who won this year’s WBBHC Scholarships, each earning $1,000: Makili Tabor, Za’Niyah Strode, Jaquana Hill, and Neftali Adiel. 

Following an introduction by Eric Smith and Hudson, the event featured guest speaker Representative George A. Brown Jr. 

Brown, a long-time friend of Hudson’s, is also a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from District 77. 

His speech to those in attendance featured several points. 

“It it important [to remember] Juneteenth because it is a link in history that connects all of us, not just African Americans,” he said. “We stand on the shoulders of those ancestors, and we must make sure that we remember to always give homage and honor to those people who first gave us life.” 

Brown also referenced two quotes. 

One is from a statement largely attributed to Forest Witcraft. 

“It will not matter what kind of house I lived in, the kind of clothes I wore, or how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child,” Brown stated.

The other comes from Tempest Williams.

“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying that we can see beyond our own [future],” Brown stated. 

He pointed out that work is still being done, and referenced impending November 2024 election issues such as Amendment 2 and House Bill 5. 

Furthermore, he stated that while Juneteenth is recognized as a holiday for the executive branch in Kentucky, it is not for the legislative and judiciary branch. 

For Brown and others, hopes and commitment to the future are strong. 

“Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s be smarter. Let’s be stronger,” he said. “Let’s stand up and do the things that are necessary for all of us.”