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The 2023 Yellow Springs Juneteenth celebration will take place on Saturday, June 17, and will be held throughout the village. Shown here are drummers holding the beat at the 2021 Juneteenth gathering. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

2023 Yellow Springs Juneteenth celebration set

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The Yellow Springs Juneteenth Planning Committee has announced the schedule for the 2023 Yellow Springs Juneteenth celebration, which will take place on Saturday, June 17.

Activities will begin at 10:30 a.m., with a gathering outside Yellow Springs High School, for a walk that will begin at 11 a.m. and proceed through the village past several sites of significance in the Black history of Yellow Springs.

The walk will conclude on the grounds of Mills Lawn Elementary School, where the 2023 Juneteenth program will take place from noon–1:30 p.m. The program will include reflections on the meaning of Juneteenth, music by the World House Choir and by Tronee Threat, storytelling and re-enactments of accounts of enslavement and freedom. Games and other activities for children will be offered throughout the afternoon. Those attending the program are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and lunches. Food trucks also will be available. Following the program, Radio Basim will provide music until 3 p.m.

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Donations are welcomed to support the cost of hosting the Juneteenth activities. The 365 Project, the Yellow Springs nonprofit that supports programs celebrating Black culture, serves as the fiscal agent for the Yellow Springs Juneteenth Planning Committee. Donations may be made at the365projectys.org, by pressing the “Donate” button and then the “Juneteenth” button, or by sending a check made payable to The 365 Project, P.O. Box 165, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, with “Juneteenth” in the memo line.

Juneteenth commemorates the date of June 19, 1865, when Union Army troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, the last stop on their journey through Texas, where they delivered the news firsthand to enslaved people that they were free. They were delivering this news two months after the enslaved should have been freed following the surrender of the Confederate Army on April 9, 1865, the event that ended the Civil War. Rather than respond in a retaliatory manner, the formerly enslaved of Texas organized public celebrations centered on food and music.

Juneteenth became a U.S. federal holiday and a Village of Yellow Springs holiday in 2021. Because many employers have not yet incorporated the holiday into their schedules, the Yellow Springs Juneteenth Planning Committee decided to hold the celebration on Saturday, June 17, to enable more people to participate. For more information, email the365projectys@gmail.com.

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