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20th Annual Juneteenth Celebration Set for Friday in Germantown

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett invites the public to the 20th Annual Juneteenth Celebration. This free program is scheduled for Friday, June 17 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. Doors will open for this special event at 6:00 pm and the program will begin at 6:25 pm. Business casual is the recommended dress for the evening.

The event is hosted by Leggett and the County Juneteenth Planning Committee. The program will begin with a welcome by Leggett, who will present the African American Living Legend Awards to honorees who have dedicated their lives to service and excellence in their contributions to the African American community.

The presentation will include special musical selections from Ronnie Diamond Hoard, Grammy award winner, STELLAR Award nominee and former lead singer of the legendary 1970’s soul-funk group the Ohio Players. Followed by the screening of a documentary called Community Cornerstones, which looks at the establishment of African American Churches in Montgomery County and the thriving African American communities that built them.

Following the ceremony, a barbecue dinner will be served, and there will be a special presentation of the movie RACE, the story of Jesses Owens. Throughout the program, Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), winners of the Montgomery County NAACP Branch will provide entertainment.

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights and the County Executive’s African American Advisory Group are coordinating the program, which commemorates the 152nd anniversary of the events of June 19, 1865. On that day, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its enslaved persons. The event today is known as Juneteenth and is celebrated widely across the United States.

“The end of slavery not only meant freedom for a people, it meant freedom for a nation. However, nothing is guaranteed; as we saw social justice and equality threatened and snatched away to be won again through the brave acts of the freedom fighters of the Civil Rights Movement and Selma,” said Office of Human Rights Director James Stowe. “This is an important program for all Montgomery County families.”

Seating is limited so reservations are encouraged and can be made on line at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights.