The Owensboro Black Expo will be holding a community event to celebrate Juneteenth from 4-9 p.m. on June 19 at Kendall-Perkins Park.
Black Expo Board Secretary Martiza Meeks said the celebration will help raise money for the Owensboro Black Expo Scholarship fund, which provides at least $500 to a local student between 16 and 25 years of age during the fall and spring semesters.
The event will be put on through a collaboration between the Owensboro Black Expo and the Owensboro Human Relations Commission, while United Way of the Ohio Valley will serve as a vendor for the event.
Books featuring narratives from Black and Brown communities will be given away, as well as a variety of toiletries. Food trucks will be set up at the park, and T-shirts made specifically for Juneteenth 2021 will be sold to help raise funds for the Black Expo scholarship.
The night will be topped off with a fireworks display that will take place at Fourth Street Baptist Church, though Meeks said those in attendance should be able to see them from the park as well. Guests are welcome to bring their own chairs for the fireworks display.
“This event is multicultural in attendance and participation,” Meeks said. “We value education, togetherness and unity.”
Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day — is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
According to Meeks, one of the nonprofit’s primary missions since its inception has been to educate the community and bring awareness to holidays such as Juneteenth.
Meeks said while the recognition of Juneteenth — which was first celebrated in Texas on June 19, 1865 — should be relevant to communities of all races, the holiday is often left out of history books and lectures.
“It’s important to teach our children the truth because I believe the education system has done a disservice to all of us,” she said. “Our duty as Owensboro Black Expo is educating our communities — specifically Blacks, because there’s a need.”