Bloomfield is hosting a series of events to commemorate the June holidays

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News 12 employees

June 19, 2021, 2:42 am

Updated on: 19.06.2021, 02:42 am

Bloomfield hosted a Juneteenth Festival Friday night – the first of its kind. The two-day celebration began with education on the newly recognized National Day.

A panel discussion was held at Bloomfield High School. Mayor Mike Venezia says he didn’t hear about Juneteenth while visiting Bloomfield High. The discussion participants want to change that.

“Freedom is not free. You will have to fight. You will have to fight, but everyone in this room and everyone who is not here, ”says poet and activist Amina Baraka.

Juneteenth is a celebration to commemorate June 19, 1865 – the day the last slaves learned of their freedom. The celebration is centuries old, but some people are only recently learning about it.

“I think sometimes we get into positions where some people are afraid to expose the story, what results it would bring. But don’t see it that way. Think of it as an educational opportunity to move forward, ”says Bloomfield Civil Rights Commissioner Kasey Dudley.

The mayor says he only found out about Juneteenth about four years ago.

“We have to feel uncomfortable in order to feel comfortable for the future,” says Mayor of Venezia. “And teaching our youth is the most important aspect of it.”

The debate over the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in the curriculum continues. Educator Dr. Djanna Hill-Tall says this topic should not be ignored.

“I just let my teachers try to teach the truth. I think this celebration, its history, definitely comes into the K-12 curriculum because we’re talking about the history of this country, ”says Hall-Tall.

Other events for the Juneteenth Celebration include a reading of the Juneteenth Proclamation followed by a walk in solidarity to Bloomfield College. There’s also a street fair on Washington Street to highlight black-owned businesses.