Day-long event marks Farmington area’s first Juneteenth

A day-long, free, fun and educational event is coming to Farmington Hills on Saturday, June 29, to celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.

“Juneteenth is the celebration of the word of emancipation finally coming to a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, more than two and one-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863,” said Jacqueline Boleware, co-chair of the First African Methodist Church (FAME) Farmington Area Juneteenth Committee.

Juneteenth is observed in communities across the country with parades and other events, she said. “This is the first-ever Juneteenth celebration for the Farmington and Farmington Hills communities, and Rev. Patricia Coleman-Burns, pastor of FAME, is committed to it becoming an annual event.”

Festivities will take place on the grounds of Nardin Park United Methodist Church, 29887 W. 11 Mile Rd. in Farmington Hills, with opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. Guest speakers will include Mark Fancher, Racial Justice Project Staff Attorney, and Smart Justice Organizer Rick Speck, both from the ACLU of Michigan. The music will be headlined by Alvin Waddles and Friends. A wide variety of activities that emphasize education and achievement will run until 6 p.m.

“We will have educational presentations, storytelling, crafts and activities for young people, guest speakers, music, food, merchants, and informational vendors,” said Boleware.

Local and state government representatives and community leaders also will participate.

Opportunities for students include an essay contest for high school seniors and an oratory scholarship contest that will take place at 3 p.m.

The Farmington Area Juneteenth Celebration will honor the memory of Rev. John H. Burns II, founder and former pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Farmington Hills. Rev. Burns died unexpectedly in May. 

For more information, including sponsorship and vendor opportunities, contact Boleware at 248-924-4634 or co-chair Mabel Fox at 248-250-4221. You can also learn more on Facebook.