Montgomery County to Host 25th Juneteenth Free Celebration This Saturday, June 18, with Events at BlackRock Center in Germantown

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County:
Montgomery County’s 25th Juneteenth Celebration will be held at the BlackRock Center for the Arts from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 18. This will mark the first official observance of Juneteenth as both a national and County paid holiday.

The BlackRock Center is located at 12901 Town Commons Dr. in Germantown.

The celebration will be a free, family-friendly event, but an RSVP is encouraged to receive a day-of-event reminder email with the direct link to the event and any additional announcements. An RSVP can be made at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2022-juneteenth-journey-to-freedom-tickets-316992431897.

Juneteenth commemorates the 157th anniversary of the events of June 19, 1865. On that day, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 Federal troops arrived in Galveston, Tex., to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its enslaved persons. The anniversary today is known as Juneteenth and is celebrated widely across the United States.

The County event will feature traditional events including an award recognition ceremony and Juneteenth-inspired food. This year’s “Journey to Freedom,” will hold a theme of “Memorialize the Struggle, Celebrate the Successes and Secure Justice.” The celebration is designed to recognize equality through education, art, dance, music and honoring elders.

New this year, the festivities will include “Trail of Knowledge” educational passport activities—a historical journey of African American Music and artistic entertainment, and food trucks. All activities are designed for the whole family and will take place throughout the BlackRock Center campus. Additional activities are scheduled for the nearby Germantown Library. Special Guest Rare Essence will perform, along with other musical and artistic surprises.

“Juneteenth is a chance to gather with our community, celebrate our diversity, and remember our history,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “We reaffirm that we are stronger as a County because of our diversity. This year’s Juneteenth activities are designed to engage and educate, as well as entertain, because this holiday is a reminder that we can’t take freedom for granted. We look to the future with great hope and with a renewed commitment to pursuing justice. I urge our residents and visitors to join us for this year’s Juneteenth celebration and spend time learning more about this important national holiday.”

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission, Friends of the Human Rights Commission and the County Executive’s African American Advisory Group are coordinating the program. Program partners include the BlackRock Center for the Arts, the City of Rockville and numerous County departments and services.

County Executive Elrich will again host the African American Living Legend Awards on Friday, June 17, to honor distinguished individuals who have helped shape the cultural heritage of the African American community. The honorees have dedicated their lives to service and excellence, with accomplishments in areas including business, health, media, sports, education, law, ministry, community organizations, medicine and politics.

“The end of slavery not only meant freedom for a people, it meant freedom for a nation,” said Office of Human Rights Director James Stowe. “However, nothing is guaranteed—as we see efforts at voter suppression nationwide, confrontation with law enforcement and excessive force issues for Black and Brown people, social justice crisis and an attempted insurrection and end of our democracy. This is a must attend program for every freedom-loving member of our community. As we still have COVID-19 concerns, we will be observing all County-required safety measures that may be in place at that time. So come on out and bring your entire family for a full day of education, fun, good food, music, art and entertainment.”

Additional information also is available on the Office of Human Rights website or by calling the Office of Human Rights at 240-888-5502.

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