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Juneteenth Celebration to Honor African American Vets

EL CENTRO — The community is invited to attend the annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 19 at the El Centro Community Center, where organizers will honor local African American veterans.

Local author Annaka Elizabeth Penner-Smith will have copies of her self-published book of poetry, “For You,” for sale at the Juneteenth celebration in El Centro on Saturday, June 19. | COURTESY IMAGE

The event is being hosted by the Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee, in partnership with the city of El Centro, Vo Medical Center and Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic and Black Lives Matter Imperial Valley.

A vaccination clinic will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Those who get vaccinated will have an opportunity to win in the Vax for the Win state prizes by signing up at https://covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win

Festivities will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and include food vendors, such as Rabb Slab B-que, shaved ice, games, live entertainment, old time praise and worship songs, public and nonprofit community organizations providing information, and a historical reenactment of the Civil War period by Brawley resident Sam Couchman.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase of copy of local resident Annaka Elizabeth Penner-Smith’s recently published book of poems and short stories titled “For You.” The book is available on Amazon.com, as well.

The Social Justice Committee will also be honoring local African American veterans during the event.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationwide commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States and is also known as Emancipation Day.

The commemorative event started in 1865 in Galveston, Texas, following the announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger, which proclaimed the end of slavery in Texas. It is the oldest and the only commemorative holiday that honors African Americans.

The El Centro Community Center is located at 375 S. First St., El Centro. For more information contact Sonia Carter at 442-271-5806 or the IVSJC office at 442-231-8550.