The East End is filled in the week ahead with celebrations of Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day enslaved people in Texas learned that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years prior.

Juneteenth has long been celebrated by African Americans throughout the United States, but did not become a federal holiday until 2021. It falls this year next Wednesday, June 19, when government buildings will be closed, but many celebrations are being held on Saturday, June 15.

For the first time, the Village of Greenport will play host to a day-long celebration on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

The event, organized by Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church, Coming to the Table and the Southold Anti-Bias Task Force, will begin at the church at 614 Third Street at 10 a.m., with remarks by Pastor Natalie Wimberly. A parade will progress to Mitchell Park at 11 a.m., followed by a day-long celebration with music, dance, poetry and yoga. At 2 p.m., the newly opened North Fork Arts Center will host a screening of the documentary “Juneteenth: Freedom and Faith,” followed by a panel discussion. Here’s more information.

Pastor Wimberly gave an overview of the festivities to the Southold Town Board at its May 7 work session.

“This church, our denomination, continues to work for the liberation of all people…. We are the freedom church,” she said of the A.M.E. Zion denomination. “My time here is to continue the legacy of liberation not only for descendants of enslaved people, but for all people who find themselves in a state of oppression or bondage.”

“It is not a holiday just for people of African descent. It is a celebration for all people,” she said, adding that the organizers are planning to make the festivities multicultural and multigenerational. “It is a celebration for every American…. We have to remember what our history was so we don’t repeat the terrible things we’ve done to one another.”

Also on Saturday, June 15, the Southampton African American Museum hosts a celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with music by master kora player Yacouba Sissoko, Siya African Band and storytelling.

SAAM’s festivities include a traditional Juneteenth barbecue prepared by H&S Catering. Here’s more info

On next Wednesday, June 19, the Butterfly Effect Project is partnering with Riverhead’s First Baptist Church at 1018 Northville Turnpike for “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Community” from noon to 3 p.m.

“The event aims to honor the history and origins of the holiday with a day dedicated to fellowship and generosity,” say the organizers. “We have invited organizations, businesses and individuals to collaborate by providing community members with the opportunity to experience their unique gifts, be it entertainment, food, customized products, or services free of charge. The intention is to give back and share what we have with one another. We’d love for you to join us for this celebration of community and freedom.”

The Butterfly Effect Project is currently seeking donations of food to make the festivities happen. For more information on how to help, email contact@bepgirls.org or call the office at 631.591.0759.

At Sylvester Manor, at 80 North Ferry Road on Shelter Island, the community will gather at the Afro-Indigenous Burial Ground at 1 p.m. on June 19 for a reading of the names of the People of Color who are buried there. All are welcome. Here’s more information.

Also on June 19, LTV at 75 Industrial Road in Wainscott will play host to a Juneteenth Jubilee White Party at 6 p.m. in partnership with the Eastville Community Historical Society and LTV’s World Voices. All proceeds will benefit the Eastville Community Historical Society

Honorees will include State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, The Parrish, Sylvester Manor and Bay Street Theatre, with traditional food and signature cocktails, dancing, a Gospel extravaganza and DJ Imfmatic.

Tickets are $75 in advance and $100 at the door. Here’s More Information.


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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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