Juneteenth celebration slated for next week

Drew Butler

Beginning at noon on Saturday, June 20, a Juneteenth celebration will be taking place at Whittington Park. Juneteenth, which officially takes place on June 19, commemorates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved African Americans in Texas — the final Confederate State to have the proclamation announced.

The event will have informative guest speakers discussing African American history, as well as a talent show, a three on three basketball tournament, bounce houses and facepainting for the kids, free food and beverages, and a live DJ.

Dimitri Levoy has organized this year’s event, and he said the support from the community has been overwhelming.

“This is my first time to organize this event,” Levoy said. “I’m getting a lot of support from the community and that means a lot to me. I want to make this as good and impactful as I can to make sure I can carry it on every year.”

Levoy is a native of Ardmore, and he said he wanted to bring a Juneteenth Celebration to teach others about black history.

“I felt like this was a personal duty,” Levoy said. “I love this community. I grew up here, but I didn’t have a lot of access to black history and I didn’t have a lot of black cultural mentors or places I could go to learn about my culture. I feel like now that I’ve been doing my own self studies, it’s my duty to pass it on to those who don’t know and to make sure it's put in the forefront of my community.”

While the focus of the event is on black history, Levoy wants everyone to come out, learn and enjoy themselves.

“Everybody is invited,” Levoy said. “This is really important because it’s American history, it’s not just black history. It’s important that we all know about this and participate.”

Leroy said he hopes this event can grow into a yearly celebration, and he is also working to create a nonprofit organization to help fund more events like this in the future.”