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Juneteenth celebration planned for June 16-19


A weekend of Juneteenth events and activities will be held Friday-Monday, June 16-19, hosted by the New Mexico State University Men of Color program, DJ Black, Doña Ana County NAACP and the City of Las Cruces.

The Juneteenth celebration “emphasizes the importance of freedom, for all people,” said NAACP DAC President Bobbie Green.

The 2023 theme is “This is Power,” which “speaks to the strength and resiliency of the NAACP and its supporters,” Green said.

“Over the last few years there has been increased political and, in some cases, physical attacks on human rights, civil rights, trans rights, women rights, DEI efforts, and assaults on Black and Brown people,” said Patrick Turner, NMSU associate provost for student success and the creator of the Men of Color program. “Juneteenth not only reminds us to honor and celebrate the work of our ancestors, but also to make America accountable to the promise made and debt owed of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. My role is to constantly send the ‘payment due’ notice in the mail to America. This celebration allows me to share this moment with the NMSU campus and the local Las Cruces community.”

The Juneteenth banquet will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 W. University Ave. The keynote speaker is state Sen. Harold Pope Jr. of Albuquerque, the first African American ever elected to the New Mexico Senate, and the Derrick Lee Group.

Tickets to the banquet are $50 and are available at naacpdac.org.

Juneteenth history

The Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln signed Jan. 1, 1863, declared “all persons held as slaves within any (rebellious state), shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

Word did not reach Texas, the western-most state in the Confederacy, until June 19, 1865, when about 2,000 Union troops arrived at Galveston Bay.

U.S. Army Major Gen. Gordon Granger (1821-76) read General Order No. 3, which carried news of the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all remaining slaves in Texas.

Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday in 2021, commemorates the announcement of the order and Granger’s enforcement of it.

“Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day,” the National Museum of African American History and Culture said on its website.

The NAACP was founded Feb. 12, 1909, in Baltimore.