UPDATED: Inaugural Juneteenth Parade Set, Participants Still Sought

Participants in a June, 2020 Juneteenth march in the township. (File photo)

The Somerset County Democratic Black Caucus’s first Juneteenth Parade is set for 11 a.m. June 18, with the starting point being the Pine Grove Manor School, 130 Highland Ave.

The parade will wend its way up Highland Avenue to Hamilton Street, ending at Naaman Williams Park, 42 Matilda Avenue. There will be a short ceremony to commemorate Juneteenth before kicking off the Juneteenth Block Party with Week of the People, Inc., according to a press release from the Democratic Black Caucus.

Food, entertainment, and retail vendors will be on-site, according to the release.

One of the local organizers is Township Councilman Carl Wright (D-Ward 4). Wright said that “eight or nine” organizations will have floats for the parade, and more are being sought.

He said that Community and East Franklin fire departments will participate.

The festival, Wright said, is “not going to be a big thing, but it will be such that you’ll be able to intertwine with other people.”

The Juneteenth holiday is an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, the release said. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves was signed January 1, 1863, enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, Texas only learned of their freedom from the Union Army two years later on June 19, 1865.  Juneteenth is the longest standing African American holiday observed in the United States, according to the release.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about participating in the parade, contact Zainab Sisay at scdcblackcaucus@gmail.com.  For information about participating as a vendor, contact Karen Thomas at scdcblackcaucus@gmail.com.

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