By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
The Toledo Lucas County Public Library and Toledo NAACP hosted a joint Juneteenth Celebration on June 17, 2023. The celebration was held on the rooftop of the Main Branch located in downtown Toledo. The rooftop was filled to capacity as guest enjoyed live music inspired by jazz and R&B, fellowshipped and supported local black businesses.
“This is our second Juneteenth rooftop event in collaboration with the library. We again, had a great turnout and even sold out this year. This is truly a blessing and a different way to celebrate Juneteenth. Kudos to the Jason [Kucsma] and the library staff for this successful collaboration,” shared Rev. Willie Perryman, president of Toledo NAACP.
According to several news sources, Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation announcement and enforcement in Texas by Union soldiers at the conclusion of the Civil War on June 19, 1865.
Over the years, the day was commemorated primarily in the Black community. In 1980, Texas became the first state to officially recognize the day as a holiday and by 2019, 47 states and the District of Columbia recognized Juneteenth.
President Biden signed the legislation into law in June of 2021 that marks Juneteenth as an official United States holiday. This follows the efforts of Opal Lee, who fought for years to ensure that Juneteenth became a national holiday.
“We’re a public library and this is just one way that we can support and celebrate Juneteenth. This year we have seen an increase in turnout and hopefully this event will get bigger each year,” shared Toledo Lucas County Library Director, Jason Kucsma.
The celebration featured live entertainment by M.G.M. Band and refreshments by two Black-women businesses: Jera’s Heavenly Sweets and A Family Affair catering.
A Family Affair catering was formed five years ago by two local relatives Bridgette Floyd and Gwen Wyse. “Our menu tonight inspires people to fellowship and have a good time,” explained Floyd. We’re grateful for this opportunity,” shared Wyse.