Binghamton celebrates Juneteenth

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BINGHAMTON, NY – As today becomes a federal holiday in the United States, honoring the emancipation of slaves in this country, local organizers are preparing for a Juneteenth celebration in Binghamton tomorrow.

Members of the Binghamton Juneteenth Committee held a flag raising outside of the American Civic Association on Front Street this morning.

The committee is hosting its annual celebration tomorrow afternoon at Columbus Park in Binghamton.

From noon until 4, there will be food, games, contests, vendors and more.

Aside from celebrating Black culture, committee member Leah Webb says the event is also an opportunity to reflect on the status of African-Americans in our country and community, as well as a call to action.

Webb says more needs to be done than just declaring a national holiday.

“It’s just a step. There are many pieces of legislation right now that we need our federal leaders and state leaders to act upon that provide provisions and safety nets around resources we need. Such as the right to vote,” says Webb.

Webb supports federal legislation that would overturn laws restricting voting in some states.

She says other issues include reparations for the descendants of slaves, safe, affordable housing, job discrimination and other forms of racism.

City Councilwoman Angela Riley praised the role the Civic Association played in making COVID vaccines accessible to communities of color.

She says the next concern is how Binghamton will spend the 46 million dollars it’s receiving in federal COVID stimulus funding.

“The next phase will be part of City Council’s charge to ensure equitable distribution of the federal funds and that’s a priority,” says Riley.

The theme for this year’s Juneteenth celebration is “ujima” a Swahili term that means collective work and responsibility.

The city administration plans to raise the Juneteenth flag outside City Hall tomorrow, without the traditional formal ceremony.

Instead, members of PLOT and other social justice activists plan their own event outside City Hall tomorrow morning at 10.

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