Juneteenth celebration planned for Cleveland

A community organization is preparing to celebrate Juneteenth in Cleveland, Texas, on the third Saturday in the month of June.

The Juneteenth Committee will host a Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19, 2021 that will begin with a parade that will start at Hanson Street and South Travis Avenue at 11 a.m. The festivities will also include a program, the awarding of scholarships to graduating seniors, a barbecue cookoff, and the crowning of “Mr. and Miss Juneteenth.” These events will take place at the conclusion of the parade route at Samuel Wiley Park, 1030 Green Street.

Juneteenth, short for “June Nineteenth,” commemorates the day enslaved individuals in the state of Texas received word of their freedom from United States troops in Galveston in 1865. This is not the first observance of this holiday in Cleveland, but this will be the first time the parade route will expand outside of Precinct 20. The grand marshals for the parade will be the 1986 Cleveland Indians 3A State Championship basketball team who are celebrating the 35th anniversary of winning their title.

Organizer Sharica Lewis was inspired by a family member to continue this tradition.

“With giving back to community being important to me and my aunt Esther Johnson, this year’s honoree, past Juneteenth organizer and community advocate, I am happy these men are willing to come back home to be a part of this occasion,” Lewis states.

Lewis and committee members are encouraging people to come to Samuel Wiley Park after the parade to continue the celebration and enjoy live music, dancing, food, prose and poetry, and a host of other activities.

The Juneteenth Committee is composed of community members who have a zeal for honoring the heritage of past generations, inspiring present growth, and developing the youth of tomorrow in the Cleveland area. With this event, they are striving to increase awareness of the history of Juneteenth and celebrate the achievements of black Americans.

Christopher O’Brine, committee member, believes the Juneteenth Celebration should be embraced by all.

“As a society, we should want our children to learn the history of all people. This event is about community building, just as much as it is about celebrating and bringing people from all walks of life together,” O’Brine states. 

To learn more about the Juneteenth Celebration, search for “Cleveland TX Juneteenth Parade” on Facebook or email Clevtxjune19parade@gmail.com.

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