Juneteenth Press Release

Oberlin, OH
The Juneteenth Oberlin Executive Board is ​proud to present this year’s annual Juneteenth Celebration Festival, “Children Are Our Blessing,” ​on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 9am - 6pm.  This year our focus is on the children, and the importance of them. Children are the future and our blessing. The celebration is located downtown in the heart of Oberlin in Tappan’s Square. Join us, we will have games, a parade, performances, delicious food vendors and food trucks offering BBQ and other tasty selections, vendors, bike raffles and more! This years musical entertainment will include:, Utah Witherspoon, Donna Simmons, CMA and Mt. Zion  church choirs, children choirs and various other entertainment. Another great highlight will be the OCS Junteenth picnic, organized in collaboration with Oberlin Community Services (OCS). This year’s picnic which usually takes place in Spring Street Park will take place on Tappan Square for the first time from 5pm-7pm on Friday, June 14, 2019.


Juneteenth, originally June 19, 1865, is considered the date when the last enslaved people in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come in Texas until June 19, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom. While its roots are in Texas, Juneteenth has become a day to celebrate freedom all over the United States. Oberlin’s history of commitment to abolition and the cause of freedom make the community uniquely qualified to celebrate Juneteenth.


The Potter’s Field Memorial Service will celebrate the 156th Anniversary of Westwood Cemetery with a program on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 2pm located at Westwood Cemetery. In collaboration with community entities, plans are to begin Sunday’s activities with a brief ceremony. This year we will be commemorating Potter’s Field by placing a large permanent marker and reef to acknowledge those who have died in Potter’s Field. This marker will list the names of those who have passed. We hope the marker will be ready by then, if not, we will mark the place where it will stand with a reef and decorate the bench near Potter’s Field.


Maafa, also known as the Holocaust of Enslavement, is a national celebration commemorating the pain, suffering, and loss of life of Africans in the Diaspora. The commemoration is held at Westwood Cemetery Oberlin, Ohio at 6:30pm on Friday, June 14, 2019. Along with the African ceremony, this year For the first time we will commemorate the children who escaped enslavement and died in Oberlin while on their journey to freedom in Canada. A reef will be placed on the large  headstone of the child who was buried on the way to freedom in Canada.


Join us Saturday, June 15, 9am - 6pm, 2019. Children are our focal point this year, On we will have a larger amount of activities offered for children. We will have games, face painting, contests, sweets, a clown, and other activities for children. We will feature children in the parade, have Sparky the fire dog, continue our annual bike giveaway, feature child performers, and celebrate children. We will also offer fingerprinting for kids.


This year the Chair of Juneteenth will be Ms.Valerie Lawson who is an Oberlin Native. We are a community festival and would like to acknowledge the following organizations for their support; City of Oberlin, local churches who are providing a lot of in kind support this year, Oberlin College, the Oberlin Rotary, Oberlin Public Library, and the Oberlin Business Partnership. We are currently looking for volunteers and booth vendors to make this a successful community festival. Booth applications will be available by April 1st, 2019 at the Oberlin Public Library, or online on our website (www.juneteenthoberlin.com). Please send completed booth application to MPO 604 Oberlin, OH 44074. For additional information please contact Ms.Valerie Lawson by phone at ​440-774-4327​.

                                     [Juneteenth Oberlin, Inc. is a nonprofit organization.]


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