Juneteenth Community Event Planned in Pottstown

POTTSTOWN PA – A community “Juneteenth” event featuring games, food trucks, vendor items, and other activities is scheduled for June 19 (2021; Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the borough’s Manatawny Park, 251 Manatawny St. It will observe the anniversary of the June 19, 1865, arrival of U.S. troops in Galveston TX to proclaim that all enslaved people were freed.

Their arrival occurred 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, according to History.com. As word spread of the announcement celebrations broke out among newly freed Black people, who in most cases had not previously heard the news.

The local celebration is being arranged by Troy Rivera (at top) of Pottstown, Rivera’s Renovation Group LLC, and Jamb Events. Rivera, along with friend Nate Smith and the Pottstown Branch of the NAACP, organized the successful “Pottstown Rally for Peace and Equality” held in June 2020. It inspired speeches, prayers, and a peaceful march as a public sign of unity against racial discrimination and injustice.

A 2016 graduate of Pottstown High School, Rivera said he wants “to again bring people in Pottstown together in a constructive way, especially after a year that has been difficult for so many people, in so many ways, from the pandemic to ongoing acts of hate against ethnic minorities and other groups.”

To date, 16 vendors have agreed to serve food and sell merchandise, including clothing items. The borough Splash Park will be operating. A fire truck will be stationed at the park for children to view, and Pottstown Police Department representatives will be there to talk with residents, as they were during last year’s rally.

Rivera said guests are encouraged to wear masks, although they will not be required based on recently eased restrictions.

“This is the first time there will be a Pottstown-wide Juneteenth social gathering, to my knowledge,” Rivera said. “I’m hopeful it can be a new tradition for our town.”

Photo by Sandi Yanisko, supplied to The Post