The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to invite the public to attend two events in Union County in honor of Juneteenth. First is a special free movie presentation of “The Woman King” at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield on June 17, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. In addition, residents are invited to the fourth annual Juneteenth Flag raising ceremony on Monday, June 19, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Union County Courthouse, located at 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth.
“This month, as we raise the Juneteenth flag high and celebrate other events, we honor the resilience, strength, and freedom of our African American community,” said Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “This flag represents the struggles and triumphs of a community that fought for their liberation against all odds. Let it serve as a symbol of unity, justice, and progress as we continue to strive for equality and a future where every individual is truly free. I hope to see all of our residents at the both the flag raising and the movie night.”
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.
“As a Commissioner and an educator with a deep personal connection to Juneteenth, I stand proud today, celebrating the emancipation of my ancestors and the resilience of the African American community,” said Commissioner Rebecca Williams. “Juneteenth is not just a historical event; it is a reminder of the ongoing fight for justice, equality, and education. Through knowledge and understanding, we honor the past, empower the present, and shape a better future for generations to come.”
The movie in the park will take place around dusk at approximately 8:30 p.m. “The Woman King” is a 2022 film that offers a fictional representation of the historical West African kingdom of Dahoney. It tells the story of an all-female elite warrior unit called the Agojie and their quest for freedom and justice. Please note that “The Woman King” is rated PG-13, and some subject matter may not be suitable for children under the age of 13. Popcorn will be available for free while supplies last.
“Knowledge and awareness in the black community unites us and makes it unfit to ignore the historical past of enslaved people, which is emblematic of Juneteenth. As we gather this month to commemorate the federal holiday, let us remember the significance of this day in history,” said Commissioner Dr. Angela Garretson. “Juneteenth symbolizes the liberation of enslaved people, and it is a time to recognize the progress black people have made and recommit ourselves to dismantling systemic injustices that persist. Let us strive to educate minds of all generations, ignite hearts, and foster a society where freedom and opportunity flourish for all.”
At the Union County flag raising, there will be a poetry reading by Elizabeth resident, Jeremiah LaPorte and a reading of the General Order No. 3, by Commissioner Rebecca Williams. The people were informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. There will also be a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson, as a duet performed by singers Julia Arnold-Bouie and Willow Frazier, students at the Academy for Performing Arts in Scotch Plains.
“Together, let us stand as a united community, celebrating the diversity that enriches us and embracing the shared vision of a future where every voice is heard, every person is valued, and every dream is within reach,” said Commissioner James Baker. “Embrace freedom. Celebrate Juneteenth.”
For more information about the Juneteenth Flag ceremony, please contact Judith Guest, Community Engagement & Diversity Coordinator Judith.Guest@ucnj.org or 908-527-4388.