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Freedom Then, Freedom Now – Community Invited to City of Ithaca and Tompkins County Juneteenth Celebration

The community is invited to a free Juneteenth celebration on Wednesday, June 19 from 11am-3pm hosted by Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, Southside Community Center, Business Leaders of Colors, and the Community Foundation.

The event will take place from 11am-3pm on Wednesday, June 19 at Southside Community Center, 305 South Plain Street, Ithaca. The event will include a Black Business Expo, an historical reenactment of the first Juneteenth Celebration in 1865, a community lunch, and a keynote address from Daquetta Jones, CEO of Vera House in Syracuse.

Timeline of Events:

  • 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Black Business Expo
  • 11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m., Historical Re-enactment of the First Juneteenth Celebration in 1865 by a Rochester-based group
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Discussion Tables Related to Re-enactment
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:25 p.m., Keynote Speaker, Daquetta Jones, CEO, Vera House
  • 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Community Meal

The theme of this year’s event is “Freedom Then, Freedom Now,” highlighting the Black struggle for and achievements of freedom in the United States since the first Juneteenth celebration in 1865.

Dr. Ken Clarke, Director of the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights stated, “This year’s City/County Juneteenth theme is Freedom Then, Freedom Now. One of the perennial questions with which African Americans—and the nation itself—have grappled is what the meaning of freedom. What did it mean on the first Juneteenth in 1865? What does it mean in 2024, in a political and cultural climate of increasing polarization, misinformation and dissension? Juneteenth can provide some perspective on the nature of freedom.”