Poets, spoken word artists, dancers, drummers and choirs will showcase their talents at the DeKalb NAACP's second annual Juneteenth “Celebration of Freedom” on June 16 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center.

The 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. event is being held in partnership with the fourth annual  “I Am a Father 5K Run/Walk."

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that slaves in Galveston, Texas, finally found out that they had been freed – two years earlier – by the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.

It is considered the oldest known celebration of the end of U.S. slavery in the United States. This year marks the 155th anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

African-American communities across the country observe Juneteenth with festivals, picnics, barbecues, rodeos, and other community events.

Teresa Hardy, president of the DeKalb NAACP, said performers will include ACT-SO youth, Shy Temple CME African Drummers, Rainbow Park Baptist Church Choir, the Caribbean Dance Group, the Icon Models, and gospel artist Joseph Wheeler. 

“The NAACP DeKalb County will continue in tradition by hosting this event to focus on education, self-preservation and self-improvement,” Hardy said.

The day’s activities kick off at  8:30 a.m. with the I Am a Father 5K Run/Walk, which promotes organ donor awareness and celebrates fathers.

David Manuel, the walk founder/organizer, said they are happy to partner with the NAACP again, as they enter their fourth year.  

“This signature event promotes health and wellness, organ donation and community bonding,” he said.  

The NAACP’s Freedom Fighters team is participating in the walk, which starts across the street at Greenforest Community Baptist Church, 3250 Rainbow Drive. The 3.1-mile route travels along Rainbow Drive to Columbia Drive, makes a U-turn at Columbia Elementary School and terminates at the Porter Sanford Center.

The Juneteenth festivities with entertainment, workshops, cultural foods, and vendors begins at the end of the walk. It is free to attend.

The Porter Sanford Center is at 3181 Rainbow Drive.

Registration for “I Am a Father 5K Run/Walk” ranges from $10 for the Tot Trot to $30 for individuals. Visit https://www.iamafather5k.org to register.

The Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom is free to attend but registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/naacp-dekalb-county-juneteenth-celebration-tickets-42729565280.

For sponsorship and vendor opportunities or to become a volunteer, email naacpdek@comcast.net or call 404-241-8006.