Five Sandy Springs residents are hosting an unofficial Juneteenth celebration this weekend.
The event celebrating the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the U.S. will take place 2-4 p.m. Sunday at City Green. The four-acre park is located at the heart of the City Springs campus.
Sandy Springs Councilwoman Melody Kelley and residents Dontaye Carter, Megan Harris, Le’Dor Milteer and Corey Waller are hosting the Juneteenth event which includes speakers as well as music and dance performances by Namari Dance Center, Djoli Kelen and Southside Soul. A father and daughter dance competition will also be a part of the festivities.
The celebration is free and open to the public, but not sponsored by the city.
Kelley said the organizers’ goal is to show the city’s growing diversity and make Juneteenth an annual event treasured by Sandy Springs residents of all races and cultures. To accomplish that, the councilwoman said it was important for Black residents to be central to marking the first Juneteenth celebration.
“The only way to authentically commemorate a Juneteenth occasion that is lasting for years to come is for the Black community to be involved and lead the effort,” Kelley said.
Carter said in a statement that Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” is an opportunity for the entire city to come together.
“This event is a part of the much larger fabric of our democracy,” he said. “(The enslaved) weren’t freed in 1776. Their freedom from bondage came nearly a hundred years later. … This is our Independence Day, a day worthy of celebrating Black culture, Black business (and the) Black community.”
More Juneteenth celebrations nearby
In Alpharetta, the Phi Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. will feature historian Karcheik Sims-Alvarado and performances by Namari Dance Center. The “Honoring Juneteenth” event is free but attendees must register in advance at Eventbrite.com. The celebration will be held 7-9 p.m. Friday at Alpharetta Arts Center, 238 Canton Street.
Smyrna will host a celebratory dinner for the Juneteenth holiday with acclaimed historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar. She will discuss her book, “She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman” and sign copies. The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle, in downtown Smyrna. Tickets are $15. Proceeds will benefit the foundations for Campbell and Griffin Middle Schools, a city statement said.
In Roswell, Eagles Nest Church will present “Juneteenth: A celebration of Black culture and fatherhood.” Similar to the Sandy Springs event, a father and daughter dance competition will be included in the activities. The event will be held 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Riverside Park, 575 Riverside Road.
About the Author
Credit: Clayton County Police Department
Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office