Parades, festivals, speakers highlight Monroe area Juneteenth celebration

Sarah McCoy Adakwue, first Black to attend ULM, will keynote Juneteenth program at Flowery Mount Baptist Church Friday night, June 18th.

–Richwood Juneteenth Art Exhibition, Town of Richwood, Friday, June 17th, 10:45 to 3 p.m.

–Richwood Juneteenth Parade 6 p.m. (5 p.m Lineup at town Hall) Friday, June 18th.

 –Juneteenth/Father’s Day focus, Flowery Mt. Baptist Church, Friday, June 17th, 6 p.m. Youth essays. Sarah Adakwue, Speaker 

 –Juneteeth Black Chamber parade Saturday, June 18th, Lineup at 7 a.m. from Civic to Eastgate (Black Chamber)

–Juneteenth Parade lineup June 18th, Wossman High School at 9 a.m. Route Berg Jones Lane to Zoo.

–Juneteenth Picnic in the Park after the parade at Louisiana Purchase Zoo ends at 5 p.m. Saturday.

–Juneteenth Family Fun Day in the Mary Goins Park 10:30 to 4:30 Town of Richwood.

–Juneteenth Freedom Day Market, Downtown River Market 12-5 p.m Saturday, June 18th (Black Chamber)

–Juneteenth Arts and Crafts at Forsythe Park, Saturday, June 18th at 5pm.

–Juneteenth Jubilee Sunday Funday, Enoch’s Grill, Sunday, June 19th – 3 p.m. Party Event

–Bruce Bruce Comedy Show, Sunday, June 19th Monroe Civic Center.

  Community Activist Marie Brown and friends present the 2022 “Juneteenth Parade and Festival, the Official Monroe Celebration.”

  This year marks the second year that the parade and festival are commemorating what is now a Federal Holiday. The Juneteenth National Independence Day became official on June 17, 2021, with President Joe Biden’s signature.

   This year there will be two more parades sponsored by different groups, for a total of three Juneteenth parades.

  Brown began promoting Juneteenth in Monroe over a decade ago before it was declared a holiday in the area. She said it is a thrill to see other groups join in.

“Juneteenth has been dear to my heart,” says Brown. “Working with the National Juneteenth organization trying to get the holiday pushed through has been a joy.”

While Brown is pleased with this milestone, she maintains that individuals must continue to fight the good fight. “Eleven years of celebrating in Monroe, and still we must keep fighting for freedom and unity. Juneteenth must become a movement for people to join together to strive for freedom. Only then are we truly free.”

The official parade begins at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, June 18th, with a lineup at Wossman High School, 1600 Arizona Ave. The procession will travel in a southwesternly direction and end at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo.

The Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo Pavilion (1405 Bernstein Park Rd.) will be the festival site. Attendees can purchase and enjoy crafts, food, kids’ activities, pop-up shop, vendors, and more. The festivities end at 5 p.m.

There is a $20 entry fee for participation in the parade (per individual, per group or per vehicle). There is free entry to the festival at the zoo.

Official Juneteenth parade and festival sponsors include State Sen. Katrina R. Jackson, City Council Members Carday Marshall and Juanita Woods, Primary Health Services Center (PHSC), Burks Inks & Prints, Queen Bee Enterprises, UMOJA, and Uniti.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day and Freedom Day, commemorates the date (June 19) in 1865 that Union Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all enslaved persons were now free.

Though then-President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law on Jan. 1, 1863, it could not be enforced in many areas until 1865. That is, after the Union army defeated the Confederate army, effectively ending the Civil War.

Juneteenth, a mashup of “June” and “nineteenth,” is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. It is commemorated in hundreds of cities across the country with myriad programs and entertainments.