Joining us on AM Buffalo today, Juneteenth president, Jennifer Earle-Jones. The event is at Martin Luther King Park this weekend, June 18th and 19th.
The parade and festival are back after two years of virtual festivals and virtual parades. Jennifer says, “You need to come out to the festival. The parade begins at 11am sharp and we take off at Delavan and Moselle and we walk the one-mile route all the way to the end of the park at Filmore and East Parade.”
This year we are just so excited to be coming back, we have well over 130 vendors, that includes the concession stands and all the food, everything from fried dough to New Orleans catering.” There are three stages, as well as a youth zone, a children’s zone and an elders village where they cater to the wisdom of the community.
Juneteenth is also about the history. Jennifer Earle-Jones says, “Juneteenth is the holiday that was established or that began as a result of people in Galveston, Texas not knowing that have been made free two and a half years earlier by the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation was signed in 1863, but the people of Galveston didn’t know until 1865 that they were free and that was on June 19th, hence Juneteenth. So that’s the history of the celebration.” Jennifer goes on to say, “The celebration and recognition has gone forth since then in states like Texas. It was made a state holiday in Texas back in 1980 and finally, finally we are in Buffalo celebrating as the national city and state holiday. Buffalo’s Juneteenth holiday started in June of 1976 on Jefferson Avenue as an alternative of celebrating the 4th of July in 1976 which was the 200th Independence Day celebration for this country.” Juneteenth is now a federal holiday.
Jennifer Earle-Jones says, “We have done all we can to maximize security for the venue because there are concerns, we know that the community has concerns about active shooters, you know the venue being infiltrated by white supremacists and we are maximizing the safety for this year’s festival by any means necessary to make sure everybody who attends is safe and secure.”