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Third Annual Juneteenth Flag Raising to be held at the Union County Courthouse

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to invite the public to attend the third annual Juneteenth Flag raising ceremony on Sunday, June 19, at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Union County Courthouse, located at 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth.

“The raising of the Juneteenth flag gives us the opportunity to educate the public about the history, power, resilience, and unbroken spirit of Black Americans over the course of the month of June,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “I have a strong connection to Juneteenth, as my dad was born and raised in Galveston, Texas, and much of my family still lives there. I am thankful to be a part of Union County, where we continue to commemorate and honor this very special date in history.”

The Juneteenth Flag was created in 1997 to commemorate June 19, 1865, when the citizens of Galveston, Texas were finally notified about the abolition of slavery. President Lincoln had signed the Proclamation of Emancipation more than two years earlier, on January 1, 1863.

Juneteenth is among the longest-running celebrations of emancipation in the United States, though its place in popular culture was obscured by segregationist policies during the 20th century. As recently as last year, interest in Juneteenth has surged as a way to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize their foundational role in the nation’s history from the arrival of the first slave ship from Africa in America in 1619, up to the present day.

“All are welcome to join Union County’s annual program on Juneteenth, and to participate in the observance of the federal holiday,” said Commissioner Dr. Angela Garretson. “As a County and as a nation, we all can celebrate African American culture, while recognizing the need to advance diversity, equity and inclusion for a more just society that upholds liberty and justice.”

At the Union County flag raising, there will be solos by Adrienne Sykes, Twanda Porterfield-Muslim and Rhyan Brown of the NJ Orators, will read the General Order No. 3, which was announced by Union General Gordon Granger and his troops after they traveled to Galveston, Texas to announce this order on June 19th, 1865, which now went on to be celebrated as Juneteenth. The people were informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.

Rhyan Brown is a 15-year-old rising junior, who attends Kent Place School in Summit. In additional to participating in various activities at school, Rhyan joined the Plainfield Chapter of the New Jersey Orators when she was just seven years old. To date, she has earned several Medals of Excellence at their winter and spring orators’ competitions.

“In every culture and every community, people gather to celebrate the good things about their lives and backgrounds,” said Commissioner James Baker. “For me, and many in this community, Juneteenth is one of those celebrations. This is a great month to come together as brothers and sisters, celebrate our diversity, and learn to appreciate and respect how far we have come and the history behind Juneteenth.”

In addition to the flag raising ceremony, Union County is co-sponsoring several local events in celebration of Juneteenth. Later that evening at 7:00 p.m., there will be a live concert at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, featuring a performance by The Purple Madness, a Prince experience, with Bobby Miller. This concert is free for all.

For more information about the Juneteenth Flag ceremony, contact James Pellettiere, Clerk of the Board at jpellettiere@ucnj.org or 908-527-4140.