The African American Center organizes the Juneteenth celebration

June 12 — Be a part of history this weekend as the community commemorates June 12 for the first time with “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom.”

London’s first ever Juneteenth event will take place on Broad Street between 5th and 7th in London city center this Saturday June 15th, from 12pm to 7pm.

The Laurel County African American Heritage Center will host a Fish Fry at the event. There will also be a food truck from Louisville offering authentic African cuisine. Additionally, the event will include entertainment for all ages. Much of the entertainment throughout the event will be educational about the history of Juneteenth. In addition, there will be a spoken word part open to all.

“There are a lot of talented people in this area sharing really powerful messages. We’re leaving that open in case some people get stage fright,” said Chase Carson, a member of the City of London Tourism Commission.

One of the artists at the event is Joan Brannon. Brannon is co-executive director of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC). Joan joined the KFTC team in 2021 as Co-Organizing Director.

“With more than three decades of experience advocating for racial, economic, and social justice, her work is integral to advancing KFTC’s organizational change initiative. Joan is passionate about community building, resolving and healing racial trauma and using art to create social change Joan is a native Kentuckian who believes that deep listening, sharing stories, and radical acceptance are key strategies for. bridging community divides,” Carson said.

Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 17, 2021 and is celebrated in honor of the abolition of slavery in the states, which occurred on June 19, 1865.

The celebration is made possible by Kentuckians of the Commonwealth, the Laurel County African American Heritage Center and the African American Museum and Cultural Center of Southeastern Kentucky.

“It’s always an honor for me, anything we can do to uplift the community and educate the community. It’s always an honor and a privilege for me to be a part of it. At the center, we’re just trying to keep going to do things that will be a blessing to our community and to the people,” said Wayne Riley, founder and director of the Laurel County African American Heritage Center.

Riley also shared that “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom” could become an annual celebration, depending on this year’s turnout. If the inaugural event is as successful as he hopes, celebrations will take place in Hazard and London in 2025.

“I’m excited that people here in the community will have the opportunity to experience different cultures, learn and educate themselves, and most importantly, have fun! This is an event aimed to bring the community together to celebrate the freedom of all, because if one person is not free, no one is. So this event is really about community and love and compassion,” Carson explained. .

To keep up with future events hosted by the Laurel County African American Heritage Center, visit their website at or follow them on Facebook at “Laurel County African American Heritage Center Inc.”

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