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Two returning and one new Juneteenth celebration to be held in east Idaho

A past Juneteenth celebration in Rexburg. | file photo
IDAHO FALLS — Eastern Idahoans have a few options to choose from if they want to attend a community event celebrating Juneteenth.
Pocatello and Rexburg have both had Juneteenth celebrations in years previous, and will have them again this year. Idaho Falls will have its first community event celebrating the holiday, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, on both June 15 and June 19.
“This holiday has been celebrated by African Americans for years,” said co-chair of the Juneteenth Organizing Committee and President of the Idaho Falls African American Alliance Dave Snell in a news release announcing the event. “Juneteenth embodies resilience, independence and community.”
Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, was first celebrated in Texas on June 19, 1865 when the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation was ordered in Texas. Over a century and a half later, it was declared a federal holiday on June 17, 2021.
The celebration in Idaho Falls, “the Juneteenth CommUNITY Heritage Music Festival”, will begin on June 15 on Memorial Drive, north of the Idaho Falls Farmer’s Market. This event will feature a welcome speech from Mayor Rebecca Casper as well as performances from blues singers, drummers and fiddlers.
“Idaho Falls is an amazing community, and through the Juneteenth commemorations, we will showcase this yet again. We will celebrate togetherness and the value of community where our differing backgrounds are counted as strengths,” Casper said in a news release.

The second day of celebrations will be held on Juneteenth proper at the Colonial Theater. It will feature performances from choirs and bands, with a grand finale performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“We’re going to take (people) on a journey through music and show them the importance of this event,” Snell said. “I believe music is a universal language and love is the key.”

In Rexburg, “Acknowledge: A Juneteenth Celebration” will be held on June 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Helaman Fields. This event is being put on by the Black Student Union of Brigham Young University-Idaho.
There will be food provided by Kafé Mamai at the event and it will feature a speaker named Whitney Johnson Catt. Attendees can expect to learn more about the significance of Juneteenth and the modern implications of its history.

For the NAACP in Pocatello, this will be the first Juneteenth celebration since the passing of Ken Monroe, the former president of the chapter.
According to Virgie Arambarri, the interim president of the chapter, Monroe was important in making the Juneteenth celebration a community event.
“We want to continue that tradition and I feel very fortunate that I was able to work with Ken the last couple of years,” Arambarri said.
The celebration in Pocatello will be held on June 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pocatello Senior Activity Center.
There will be ethnic music, an auction, a red velvet baking contest and games for kids to play. A variety of foods will be served starting at noon, such as, “Chicken and barbecued ribs, ethnic side dishes, corn bread, watermelon and red velvet cake will be served. Hamburgers and hot dogs will also be available.”
For an adult to get a meal ticket, they can make a donation of $25, and a $15 donation for children ages 6 to 12. Children five and under eat and participate free.
The NAACP also plans to honor Monroe, as well as three other longtime members who are now deceased, Jim Robinson, John MacKay and Billy Lake.
“Attendees can expect family fun, traditional food, good fellowship and an opportunity to learn about and share the importance of this holiday,” Arambarri said in a press release.
The post Two returning and one new Juneteenth celebration to be held in east Idaho appeared first on East Idaho News.

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