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By Shanita Dognia                             Follow East Palo Alto Today on
June 19, 2020                                       Facebook    Twitter         Blog              
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Juneteenth Celebration


On June 19, 2020, the 26th Annual National Juneteenth Festival will kick off a weeklong event. It is not a tradition during this event to have people from across the United States descend on one location. COVID-19 has created major challenges and severe losses to the economy, to jobs, homes and lives. The Black Lives Matter movement has shed new light upon the black population that has felt undercounted and underrepresented during the last century.

This is an important time to have an accurate count across the country of how many African Americans live in the U.S. Betty Williams, who is with the Census Bureau in Sacramento stated, "As a partnership specialist working with the African American Complete Count Committees and other black organizations, I think the first ever online virtual Juneteenth will create a huge amount of curiosity, which will equate to a large interest from the black community. This would result in a successful event." This online Juneteenth Festival is something for the history books.

The event is seeking to place one million African American community members together, all on one platform at the same time, seeking a unified message. NAACP Vice President Ardell Harrison had this to say, “It’s crucial that members of the black community fill in their census forms, especially, in this type of climate when social change is happening. The Juneteenth celebration is a perfect opportunity to showcase census information to give insight about why it is important for everyone in the United States, especially people of color to fill out their forms."

This celebration not only allows African Americans to showcase who they are as Americans of color, but it also allows them to be seen just as much as everyone else. Slaves were property and not looked upon as having rights.

Dr. Rick Warren, a Juneteenth promoter, said about Juneteenth and the census, “Slavery ended and freedom began. Filling out the census forms is the essence of freedom. We want to reach our American Dream, too, and this is the route we take to get there. If you want to be free, then you have to be counted and stand tall in that freedom!"

Let us stand in our freedom allowing our voices to be heard by being counted. We have to show up to show out. Filling out the forms shows we matter too! https://2020census.gov/ Please register for the Juneteenth event at http://www.juneteenthfestivalonline.com/


The above article by Shanita Dognia is reprinted by permission. Dognia is the Media Specialist for African American Outreach for Santa Clara, San Mateo and Monterey Counties for the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Census Bureau.