WALDORF, Md. – The Charles County Juneteenth Committee invites you to the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 12 PM – 6 PM EST at the Shops of Waldorf (Parking Lot), 3003 Festival Way, Waldorf, MD 20601.

Juneteenth is an important part of American history as it commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, June 19, 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War. Slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation. Join us for our
Juneteenth program as we celebrate freedom, highlight the pillars of African-American culture, support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) owned small businesses, and uplift youth voices through a youth oratory competition.
Juneteenth is a worldwide celebration of freedom! The Charles County Juneteenth Celebration is being hosted in collaboration with various community groups, including participants from the Charles County branch of the NAACP, Charles County Matters, LLC, Southern Marylanders for Racial Equality, Women of Action Charles County, LB Innovations Collective, Southern Maryland Youth Poet Laureate, and Phoenix International, Inc.

“This is the second consecutive year that we have come together to bring this celebration to Charles County. Our goal has been to commemorate our ancestors, and bring awareness to our community.” Abena McAllister, the founder of Women of Action Charles County (WOACC) shares. She continues by saying, “while we are grateful to witness the growth of the celebration and awareness of the holiday, our work isn’t done until everyone in this county knows the significance of this day to the African-American community.”

This event will be held in an open-air environment at the Shops of Waldorf with a jam-packed line-up of cultural events. Attendees can expect to: dance to the sounds of traditional African drumming; stay for community fellowship while grooving to the influences of African-Americans on modern music; patronize BIPOC owned local small businesses; and uplift young people in our community who are sharing their gifts of public speaking through the oratory competition.

Oratory Competition: Our Hill to Climb
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true, that even as we grieved, we grew.” – Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb, 2021 Presidential Inauguration Poet
Join the Juneteenth Freedom Day celebration as we shine light on students in our community and their public speaking talent. On the theme of “From Trial to Triumph,” youth orators will have the option to recite an original or published speech or poem to compete to win a prize. A winner will be selected per age group: elementary school, middle school, high school, and collegiate (undergraduate only).

Event Time: 3 – 4 PM EST for the Oratory Competition
Location: Shops of Waldorf (Parking Lot), 3003 Festival Way, Waldorf, MD 20601

Email: charlescountymatters2015@gmail.com
Free Registration: https://tinyurl.com/charlescojuneteenth

Families are encouraged to pre-register their youth orators prior to the Juneteenth celebration via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/charlescojuneteenth. We strongly recommend that orators have as much of their presentation memorized as possible. Angelica Jackson, the Executive Director of Phoenix International, Inc., the nonprofit who was recently approved to open the first-ever arts and international school in Charles County, says, “The oratory competition honors the legacy of African-Americans on literary and performance art. Through the Juneteenth Oratory Competition, we encourage youth to use their voice to inspire and motivate the Charles County community through compelling storytelling. For generations, storytelling was the primary practice African-American communities used to document their history; the oratory competition held during Juneteenth is implemented to place deference on the act of sharing history through memory, movement, sound, and words.”

For questions or further information, please contact the Program Director, Mr. Deron Tross, via email at charlescountymatters2015@gmail.com. For scheduling interviews or questions about the oratory competition, please contact Ms. Angelica Jackson via email at hello@pisota.org. Families interested in participating in the oratory competition should pre-register to participate for free on Eventbrite; tinyurl.com/charlescojuneteenth.

The family-friendly festival will be in compliance with Maryland COVID-19 guidelines. The Maryland House has passed a bill pushing for Juneteenth to be a paid state holiday. On Tuesday, June 15, 2021 the state Senate made this bill into law, allowing all Americans to celebrate freedom and honor the memory of enslaved Africans and their contributions to America.

Additional Quotes by the Organizers
“Juneteenth, today, celebrates African-American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic, and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten. All of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.” – Deron E. Tross, Charles County Matters

“God’s timing gave us Juneteenth. I walk in that freedom as a living miracle. I stand rooted in the strength of my Ancestors and will not be moved by hate. Change is coming.” – LaTasha Briscoe, LB Innovations Collective

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared by Dezmond Rosier, Charles County NAACP Youth Council President

“We are happy to celebrate Juneteenth to commemorate the release of our ancestors from bondage, and to ensure that this country acknowledges its true history.” – Ongisa McKenzie-Ichile, Founder, Southern Marylanders for Racial Equality

About the MC and Performers

Dr. Iyelli Ichile
Dr. Iyelli Ichile was appointed the Director of the African American Studies Institute at Prince George’s Community College in 2020. Dr. Ichile holds a PhD in the History of the African Diaspora from Howard University, and a Master’s in African American Studies from Columbia University. Her work is an exploration of the roles of women of African descent in Black freedom movements. She has worked with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and developed a research agenda that has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and several university grants. Dr. Ichile has held positions at Temple University, Prince George’s Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Florida A&M University, and Goddard College.

Unity Cultural Group
Unity Cultural Group is a traditional African drum group hailing from Ghana, West Africa. The group has been performing and promoting awareness of African Culture throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) for the past 20 years. The group performs traditional and contemporary African drumming along with smooth dancing, and vibrating African rhythm from the motherland, the continent of Africa. The group has been involved in organizing workshops, showcasing African culture, festivals and storytelling.

National Association of American African Dance Teachers
The National Association of American African Dance Teachers (NAAADT) is a dance service organization that aims to heighten the quality of contemporary, neo-traditional, and Diasporan African dance teaching and performance in North America. Based in Waldorf, the organization provides teacher training, performance opportunities, and dance classes in the Umfundalai contemporary African dance technique for aspiring African dance educators and performers.