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Friday, June 17, 2022
Juneneeth in Kingsport
This story courtesy the Kingsport Times-News
KINGSPORT — In 2021, Kingsport had two Juneteenth gatherings, but this year the community is coming together to have one.
It will be held this Saturday in the Riverview community.
The theme of this year’s annual Tri-Cities Juneteenth Festival is Celebrating United as a CommUNITY, according to a news release from Vanessa Bennett of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.
Sponsors of the 2022 Tri-Cities Juneteenth Festival include Eastman, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Christ Fellowship, Sync Space, First Horizon, Ballad Health, HOPE, Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union, KHRA and Move to Kingsport.
The 2021 Tri-Cities Juneteenth was held at Memorial Park, across Fort Henry Drive from Dobyns-Bennett High School, while another Juneteenth event was held at Riverview.
The 2022 Tri-Cities Juneteenth Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center in Riverview and includes an afternoon of kids’ activities and games, history sessions, food trucks and local vendors, as well as a full night of concerts featuring local and regional musicians and entertainers.
From 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tobias Tisdale will perform, followed by TJ Darnell from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Ismael Nehemiah from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tyrique Shahmir from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Florence and the Feeling from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and L.T.D. from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“Juneteenth is the commemoration of the day in June 1865 when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln finally reached slaves in Texas,” the press release states. “This year’s theme celebrates Unity as a CommUNITY, recognizing that Juneteenth is about freedom for every person.”
Tri-Cities Juneteenth Chair- woman Keira Majeed enlisted the Kingsport Chamber for help in planning this year’s event.
“In 2021, our enthusiasm got the best of us when African Americans in the Tri-Cities region held two Juneteenth events on the same day in Kingsport,” Majeed said. “I felt strongly that had to change this year. We needed to come together as one, which is why I asked my brothers and sisters from the Leadership Kingsport Class of 2022 if they would lend a hand to create a single, more impactful and far-reaching cultural experience that would go down in history as one of the best yet for our region.
”Our goal is to bring people together to celebrate the emancipation and liberation of our ancestors, to provide historical education about the Juneteenth holiday, and to highlight both African culture and the unique Affrilachian community that makes our region special.”
“Our goal is to bring people together to celebrate the emancipation and liberation of our ancestors, to provide historical education about the Juneteenth holiday, and to highlight both African culture and the unique Affrilachian community that makes our region special.”
Bennett, executive director of operations and talent development at the Kingsport Chamber, said the event became a Community Impact Project for this year’s Leadership Kingsport Class at Majeed’s request.
“And as a result, her fellow classmates rallied around the idea and have devoted not only time and resources to see the event continue to grow this year but also passion, historical expertise and incredible teamwork to ensure every member of the community feels included and welcome to participate.”
Tanya Foreman, education initiatives manager at Eastman and a member of the Juneteenth planning team, said the celebration is open to all.
“People of every color, culture and background in our community have come together to plan this event. With one week to go before the actual event, we’ve already achieved so much,” Foreman said.
“When we all work together, we have a better understanding of our ancestors, our nation’s history, and how all of us are where we are today. We’re also better humans, better neighbors and better advocates for one another,” she said.
Foreman also serves as Eastman’s chair of Connect, a global resource group dedicated to removing barriers to success for Eastman’s African American and black employees and being a force for good in the communities where Eastman operates.
“A lot of people don’t realize that it took nearly three years for the enslaved people in Texas to learn of their freedom because we didn’t learn that when we were in school. We often look at the date of the Emancipation Proclamation as the end of slavery, but in reality, Juneteenth marks the end of slavery,” Bennett said. “We are honored to be part of this special event, and I’m appreciative for the collaborative support of our community to celebrate and acknowledge a date that is so significant for so many of us.”