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Williamsport, Pa. – Juneteenth, declared an annual national holiday this year in commemoration of slavery’s end in America, will be observed Sept. 17-18 at Pennsylvania College of Technology with a series of events highlighting Black history and culture.

Juneteenth honors the June 19, 1865, reading of General Order No. 3, through which the Union army emancipated enslaved African Americans in Texas – the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.

“We have seen the damages to cultures when history is ignored and even changed. We need to celebrate and recognize the significance of holidays and celebrations like Juneteenth,” said Tiana M. Rawls-White, an applied management major from Northumberland and president of Penn College’s Black Student Union. “BSU decided to host a Juneteenth celebration for this very reason. We know Juneteenth is traditionally on June 19, but that does not mean we can only educate and celebrate on that day. 

“Most students are not on campus during Juneteenth. We wanted to give students the opportunity to learn about this celebration, especially those who may not come from an area that celebrates it, hence our hosting in September when we have more students on campus.”

Throughout the week, Madigan Library will display works by Black authors, and the college’s social media channels will profile the student organization’s officers and inspirational people of color.

Sept. 17 events will begin with a 10 a.m. raising of the Juneteenth flag outside the Hager Lifelong Education Center. The hourlong ceremony will also feature “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” recognized as the Black national anthem, sung by Tamaka Carter – a business administration: management concentration major from Williamsport – who was chosen through audition; a moment of silence; and remarks by Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Penn’s Inn (Bush Campus Center, second floor), Rachael Hanible, a personal-finance consultant and author of “Amber’s Magical Savings Box,” will discuss financial literacy.

Author Noah Fenstermacher, whose “College Admissions of Guilt: How the Underserved Student Can Still Succeed in Higher Ed” was published in late August, will offer a presentation in Madigan Library from 3-4 p.m. The 2016 graduate of Shikellamy High School is pursuing a master’s degree in education at Penn State.  

Friday’s schedule includes a demonstration of natural hair care products by Una Rawls, founder of HairGarten, in Penn’s Inn from 4:30-6 p.m.; and a showing of “Frankie & Alice,” a 2010 film starring Halle Berry, at 7 p.m. in the Student & Administrative Services Center’s first-floor presentation room.

Saturday (Sept. 18) kicks off with a 9 a.m. speech in the LEC Loop – “If Not Us, Then Who?” – followed by a Freedom Walk from 9:30-11 a.m. A “Vendors Row” of various products and services will be set up on the Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center mall from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

A Q&A panel, representing a number of campus and community leaders, will be held from noon-1:45 p.m. in the ACC Auditorium. The discussion will be moderated by Eric D. Pruden, automotive instructor and adviser to the Black Student Union.            

The Black Flame Dance Team from Kutztown University will perform on the Thompson Professional Development Center lawn from 3-5 p.m.; and a 1990s-themed Juneteenth Dance is scheduled there from 7-11 p.m. in the PDC.

The dance and movie are open only to local college students; the public is invited to attend all other events.

Juneteenth Celebration schedule of events

Friday, Sept. 17

  • 10 a.m., Juneteenth Flag Raising, LEC Loop
  • 11:30 a.m., financial consultant Rachael Hanible, Penn’s Inn
  • 3 p.m., author Noah Fenstermacher, Madigan Library
  • 4:30 p.m., Una Rawls, founder of HairGarten, Penn’s Inn
  • 7 p.m., Movie “Frankie & Alice,” SASC (students only)

Saturday, Sept. 18

  • 9 a.m., Speech “If Not Us, Then Who?” LEC Loop
  • 9:30 a.m., Freedom Walk, LEC Loop
  • 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Vendors Row, ATHS Mall
  • noon, Q&A panel, ACC Auditorium
  • 3 p.m., The Black Flame Dance Team from Kutztown University, PDC Lawn
  • 7-11 p.m., 1990s-themed Juneteenth Dance, PDC Lawn (students only)

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