Activist state

State College Juneteenth Celebration Receives $15,000 State Grant

Lorraine Jones, president of the State College chapter of the NAACP, speaks at a Monday, April 25 press conference in Harrisburg to announce Journeying Toward Freedom grants for seven June 19 celebrations across the Commonwealth in 2022. Photo by Commonwealth Media Services

State College is among seven areas in Pennsylvania to receive state grants for this year’s June 19 celebrations.

Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) will receive a $15,000 Journeying Toward Freedom grant through the Pennsylvania Tourist Board to support the celebration, the Department of Economic and Community Development announced Monday.

Juneteenth, which is observed annually on June 19, commemorates the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans in 1865. State College held its first Juneteenth celebration in 2020 and last year the day became a federal holiday.

the On the way to freedom The grant program was created this year by the Pennsylvania Tourist Board in partnership with the organization Voices Underground of Chester County as part of a commitment for the Commonwealth to “become the national leader in cultural heritage tourism. African American and to ensure that the stories of all Pennsylvanians are uplifted and heard,” according to a press release.

The State College Chapter of the NAACP organizes the local Juneteenth celebration in partnership with State College Borough, the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza Committee, Penn State Center for the Performing Arts and HVAB

Lorraine Jones, president of the State College chapter of the NAACP, and Charles Dumas, Penn State professor emeritus of theater and longtime civil rights activist, were on hand Monday at a press conference in Harrisburg announcing the grants.

“This story and the things we can do to make people in our community feel like they belong is so important,” Jones said. “Part of this celebration of…Juneteenth is making sure people don’t just feel like they can be in a community, but that they actually belong in a community…Part of the process of being able to belong is to have things that speak to our culture.

State College’s June 19 celebration this year will feature several events that will not only entertain, but also educate, Jones said.

“There are a lot of people in our community, in the state of Pennsylvania, who don’t even know what Juneteenth is,” she said. “To have an opportunity and to have people reach out to us and provide us with funds to be able to educate and make people aware of what it means, of our independence, of our freedom within this nation is so important.”

Last year’s June 19 celebration at State College included music, dance, poetry and spoken word performances, as well as films, guest speakers and other activities.

A total of $89,000 was awarded through the state grant program based on criteria including historical significance, communications and marketing plans, educational outreach, volunteer resources and fundraising. counterpart.

Charles Dumas, Penn State professor emeritus of theater and longtime civil rights activist, reads poetry during a news conference in Harrisburg on Monday the seven recipients of Journeying Toward Freedom grants through the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, who will support June 19 celebrations across the Commonwealth in 2022 Photo by Commonwealth Media Services

Juneteenth Lehigh Valley, NAACP Johnstown Branch, Sherman Theater (Monroe County),
Stop The Violence (Pittsburgh), Welcome America Inc. (Philadelphia) and Young Professionals of Color (Harrisburg) were the other recipients.

“Juneteenth is an especially significant holiday because it recognizes the day our nation began to fulfill its destiny as a nation where everyone is free,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, assistant secretary for marketing, tourism and film at the Department of Community and Economy. Development. “I am proud that we are not only helping to give this important holiday the recognition it deserves, but that we are building the stories of many Americans who have historically been underrepresented in our cultural assets. By promoting Juneteenth, we demonstrate that we are a welcoming and respectful Commonwealth.