Thursday, June 10, 2021

'Juneteenth' Celebration Planned for Pottstown

Submitted Photo
Troy Rivera, speaking at last year's Pottstown Rally for Peace and Equality march in Pottstown
Blogger's Note: The following was provided by organizers of the upcoming Juneteenth Celebration.

A family-friendly community event featuring games, food trucks, vendor items, and other activities will take place on Veterans Island in Memorial Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

For those not aware of the historic significance of this date – known as “Juneteenth,” – June 19 marks the day in 1865 when U.S. troops led by General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to read the proclamation stating that all enslaved people were freed. 

Granger’s arrival occurred two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. As word spread of Granger’s announcement, celebrations broke out among newly freed Black people who in most cases had not been previously informed.

The local celebration is being arranged by Troy Rivera of Pottstown, Rivera’s Renovation Group LLC., and Jamb Events. 

Mercury File Photo
Thousands showed up for last year's march.
Rivera, along with friend Nate Smith and the Pottstown Branch of the NAACP, organized the successful “Pottstown Rally for Peace and Equality” on June 7, 2020. 

That event was believed to have brought as many as 3,000 diverse people downtown to borough hall for inspiring speeches, prayers, and a peaceful march along High Street as a public sign of unity against racial discrimination and injustice.

A 2016 graduate of Pottstown High School, Rivera said he wants “to again bring people in Pottstown together in a constructive way – especially after a year that has been difficult for so many people, in so many ways, from the pandemic to ongoing acts of hate against ethnic minorities and other groups.”

“As we mark Juneteenth on June 19, we hope once again people from throughout the Pottstown area will show the best of our town and participate in enjoyable, positive activities that unite us,” Rivera added.

At the time of this writing, 16 vendors will be on hand to serve food and sell merchandise including clothing items.

The Splash Park will be operating. A fire truck will be stationed at the park for children to view, and Pottstown Police Department representatives will be there to talk with residents, as they were during last year’s rally.

Rivera said guests are encouraged to wear masks although they will not be required based on recently eased restrictions.

“This is the first time there will be a Pottstown-wide Juneteenth social gathering, to my knowledge,” Rivera said. “I’m hopeful it can be a new tradition for our town.”

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