Scotch Plains Fanwood celebrates Juneteenth


Sophia Iacona

On June 19th, people gathered at the Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains to celebrate “Juneteenth”. Also known as Freedom Day, this holiday marks the anniversary of when slavery was permanently abolished in Texas.
Juneteenth is celebrated by many African Americans in replacement of July 4th, as slaves were not officially freed throughout the entire south until June 19th, 1865.
The event was put on by the YMCA Achievers in collaboration with Scotch Plains Fanwood High School’s Black Student Union (BSU).
The atmosphere was warm and welcoming– the people of the church opened their arms in loving acceptance of all people, no matter their race, gender, age, or sexuality. Almost like a safe haven, from the hate and judgement regularly found in the outside world.
To kick off the event, multiple guest speakers came to present, including representatives from Voices from the Margins, Social Justice Matters Inc, as well as students from BSU.
“Juneteenth is important to me because it represents my ancestry and where I come from.” sophomore Asia Wise said.
To transition into the second leg of the event, there was a musical interlude featuring the talents of Lauren Scales, soloist, and Gill Scott Chapman, keyboard. The rest of the night was filled with singing, clapping, and joy.
This night commemorated not only the abolition of slavery, but the start of a brand new world. Juneteenth is a time to celebrate diversity, freedom, open-mindedness, acceptance, and the social progression our country has and will continue to make.