The weeks spent planning and fundraising for the Iuka Juneteenth Celebration will come to fruition next week on June 9-10, with activities for all ages at the Johnson-Ford-Mitchell Community Center. …
The weeks spent planning and fundraising for the Iuka Juneteenth Celebration will come to fruition next week on June 9-10, with activities for all ages at the Johnson-Ford-Mitchell Community Center.
“We’ve been putting together a schedule of activities for people coming from out of town as well as kids in the community,” said lead organizer Anthony Powell. “We will have food and music both days, with a bounce house for the kids, a horseshoe tournament and cornhole toss tournament.”
Powell has been working with an eager group of volunteers on his committee: Latasha Dilworth McGee, who has served as secretary, Walter Smith, Michael Goodloe, Shekia Bean, Willie Coman, Doris Mitchell Digby, Sherry Johnson Thompson, Joseph Jackson, Rodney Goodloe and Anthony Dilworth.
“I’ve actually surprised myself by being available to come out and participate,” McGee said. “I’m usually someone who just stays home, but I have really enjoyed the fundraising events, getting to interact with more people in the community.”
This is the third year for a Juneteenth event in Iuka, though it has not been as carefully planned and publicized in previous years.
“I’m a person who realizes we need to enjoy the life God gave us,” Powell said. “I’m a community activist, and when people say this is a dead town, my reaction is that it’s not a dead town. We have to work together to make our community what we want it to be.”
So, each month since February, the group has held a fundraiser to spark communitywide interest and to generate finances to support the activities they plan to provide.
Festivities will kick off at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 9. There will be a bounce house for the kids and D.J. Rodney Goodloe will provide music throughout the evening. Fish sandwiches with coleslaw and a drink will also be on sale for $6.
There also will be a drawing both days for a $100 Visa gift card. Raffle tickets for the gift cards are $3 each or two for $5. A Juneteenth t-shirt also will be available to purchase – $15 for sizes small-XL, and $17.50 for sizes 2X and larger.
Activities will resume at 12 p.m. Saturday, June 10, with sale of pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw and a drink for $6. The bounce house for the kids will again be available and children will also receive goody bags with toys. There will be a horseshoe tournament and a cornhole toss tournament for adults, and music with D.J. Rodney Goodloe will continue throughout the evening. There is no charge for activities, only for food, raffle tickets and t-shirts.
“The people I went to and asked to help on this committee have worked hard to make this event a success,” Powell said.
The years of the pandemic limited community participation for many public events, but also seemed to bring more awareness of what Juneteenth is about.
“As we know it, June 19, 1865, was the day word reached the enslaved in Galveston, Texas, that their emancipation had been made formal, though it had been so since January 1, 1863,” says the history of Juneteenth on the www.Juneteenth.com website. “And with those words our country changed, this world changed. ... Awareness and appreciation for Juneteenth is growing exponentially across the U.S. and beyond, as people of all races and ethnicities recognize the wonderful opportunity to come together in appreciation, reconciliation and commemoration.”
Juneteenth – actually June 19 – became a federal holiday when the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed into law on June 17, 2021.
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