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  • WTNH

    Hartford holds its 4th annual Juneteenth Celebration in Bushnell Park

    By Brittany Schaefer,


    HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) –  The city of Hartford held their fourth annual Juneteenth event Sunday afternoon at Bushnell Park.

    The day to mark America’s second independence came with a celebration of community, unity and high emotions.

    “This is freedom for me this is huge. I was just sitting here talking and literally crying,”

    said Dr. Nicola Chambers Holder of Vernon.

    Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery when the emancipation proclamation finally reached Galveston, Texas on June, 19th 1865.

    In Hartford, organizer Janice Castle said their celebration shows just how far we’ve come but there’s still a long way to go.

    “I think we all need to work towards equality and equity for all,” said City of Hartford Director of the Office of Community Engagement Janice Castle.

    The capital city’s fourth annual Juneteenth celebration had everything, including live music, cultural performances, vendors, food trucks, “you see this fro right here, I’m trying to walk away with one of those head wraps. Macaroni and cheese baby, don’t play,” said Chambers Holder.

    And also offered community support, “vendors selling their arts and craft, we have painting for kids, a kid-zone where they can play games. We have a lot of resource tables, financial literacy, housing, jobs, education, job training. We have a wellness tent so really we are trying to make sure everybody takes care of their well-rounded self,” Castle said.

    Black Business Alliance celebrates Juneteenth

    “Juneteenth is a celebration of black culture and black independence and we teach our girls that at an early age,” said Founder and CEO of Black Girls Achieve Taniqua Huguley Chaplin.

    Black Girls Achieve were among the organizations there working to enrich lives, specifically in grades 6 through 12.

    “I used to be very shy and to myself so I learned how to be outspoken and build myself and be more self-confident,” said Destiny Powell with Black Girls Achieve.

    “Hands-on life skills programs which can include anything from nail design to international trips. This summer we are taking girls to Trinidad and Tobago. Last year we went to Kenya so really just providing girls with opportunities they wouldn’t normally have in school or in their community,” said Huguley Chaplin.

    Hundreds of people celebrated freedom and said this is what Juneteenth and Hartford are all about.

    “Sometimes we see those negative items but this is truly Hartford,” Castle said.

    “We have to come together, unite and do more of this,” said Chambers Holder.

    This is the first year the city of Hartford is recognizing Juneteenth officially making Wednesday a paid holiday. They are one of just few municipalities in the state to do so.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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