The Spartanburg Juneteenth Organization is a South Carolina nonprofit corporation organized to educate the Spartanburg community about African American history. Our main way of presenting this education is through a annual celebration on June 16.
It is so important for a community to have a private organization like this, with the sole mission of educating the community about African American history. We must control this narrative when it comes to educating our next generation about the black excellence of our culture and about pre-slavery, slavery, and post-slavery peoples.
Juneteenth can be summed up as the journey of people from property to president in more than 150 years. We must understand the power in this one statement.
Literally, African Americans have moved from a place of servitude to a place of leadership in the entire free world, through former President Barack Obama and current Vice President Kamala Harris. It’s the visual arc of what our community has been able to do over the past 150 years, if you think about it historically.
The constituency of Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. is the broader community of Spartanburg, with a particular focus on African American and underserved communities. This makes it unique among city festivals because the city of Spartanburg has a predominantly African-American population, but its cultural offerings do not reflect this. Our mission is to educate the Spartanburg community through many different activities and events, including our annual June 19 celebration revival. We first want to spread information about what Juneteenth is and the history of this celebration since 1865 and ongoing.
We are now at a time in our community where teaching about our rich black history is needed. These are the impacts we want to have in this organization. We achieve this goal in many ways, such as through thought leadership forums, educational forums, art exhibits and religious services, as well as food and fellowship.
The benefits we have for this community are directly related to the impact we have on people. It is expected that more people of color and non-colored will leave our week of events to understand and appreciate the beauty and excellence of the black community. If you really look at the Jubilee arc so far, it’s remarkable what we’ve done as a people.
If we can impact people, then bigger changes can happen, which I think in the years to come will be a priority for Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. Under President Joe Biden, Juneteenth is a recognized holiday. by the federal government, and it was a long fight. for this to be done.
In Georgia, they have long celebrated a paid “holiday” for Confederate Memorial Day; it now has Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
South Carolina, on the other hand, is faking. Juneteenth is a state-recognized holiday in South Carolina and this effort was spearheaded by our very own Spartanburg, Harold Mitchell Jr., but it is not a paid holiday. It has been one of my deepest disappointments in my 1.5 years in office, that I have not been able to convince those making these decisions that Juneteenth should be a paid holiday.
Mayor Jerome Rice:Spartanburg celebrates Juneteenth with joy and determination
I will continue to push for this locally at the county and city level. Honestly, I’m very surprised the city hasn’t recognized Juneteenth as a paid holiday. These are two fights that we still have to win.
Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. is more than a festival; we do things in line with the Juneteenth values and principles throughout the year, and fighting for paid time off is in line with those values and principles.
Spartanburg’s June 19 festivities will provide a platform this year to celebrate the rich history of our community, and they’re open to everyone.
Our events will inspire future generations to build an even greater black community.
Monier “Mo” Abusaft represents District 1 on the Spartanburg County Council.