STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Monday is the third Juneteenth observed nationwide as a federal holiday.
As celebrations were held across our region over the weekend, groups in the Poconos are reflecting on the holiday’s significance throughout our communities.
Flags line Main Street in Stroudsburg bearing the Juneteenth symbol, one of the many ways our local communities are honoring the holiday.
Nancy Monestime-Williams works alongside President Christa Caceres in the Monroe County NAACP branch.
“The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the independence day for the African American people that were enslaved,” said Monestime-Williams.
An organization that started back in the early 1900s, fighting for social justice and civil rights.
“Across the country, some 2,000 chapters nationwide of individuals of all races, all colors, and all creeds who work together for unity, equity, social justice, and just making sure that everyone recognizes that we all have value and worth,” said Caceres.
She says over the last three years since Juneteenth was observed as a federal holiday, they’ve come a long way in building strong relationships with the community and other groups, like the East Pocono alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Their sorority took part in the Greater Pocono Section of the National Council of Negro Women’s Second Annual Juneteenth Freedom Fest held at East Stroudsburg University this past weekend.
Janell Henderson, the former president of the East Pocono Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. said, “There were so many families there, just coming together as a community. There was music, there was food, there were vendors with homemade crafts, and it went really well it was a good turnout.”
Both organizations say Juneteenth should be observed not just in celebration, but through education. By sharing the hardships their ancestors had faced.
“I sort of look at it as another celebration of independence in the United States. I want to make sure that as I get older and continue to grow my roots in the Poconos, that I assist in making the celebration grow larger and better every year,” said Jewel Henderson.
“Freedom and opportunity. So it means independence, which gives us the opportunity to grow and live out our liberties,” said Monestime-Williams.
For more information, you can visit the Monroe County PA NAACP Facebook page, or The East Pocono Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc’s Facebook page.