Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill celebrates Juneteenth with Parade and Festival Saturday

The 2023 Juneteenth Parade Photo Courtesy of the Peekskill BID Facebook Page

13 years ago a group of citizens came together, created the Peekskill Juneteenth Heritage Committee and held Peekskill’s first Juneteenth Parade and Celebrations. In 2022, the Peekskill Herald documented the history of Peekskill’s Juneteenth in Preserving History of Peekskill’s Juneteenth Celebrations. In its 13th year, the Peekskill Juneteenth Committee continues a very proud tradition of celebrating our rich history and deep roots. Just as the founders of the original Peekskill Juneteenth Heritage Committee handed over the reigns and passed the baton of Peekskill’s Juneteenth Celebrations to the Peekskill Youth Bureau after the Covid pandemic, it is only apropos that this year’s Juneteenth theme is “Empowering the Next Generation”

Flag Raising

On Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 6:00 pm, join the 2024 Juneteenth Committee, City of Peekskill officials and the entire city at City Hall where the Juneteenth Flag will be raised to fly over the City.

Juneteenth Parade and Festival


On Saturday, June 15, the 13th annual Juneteenth Parade kicks off at 1:00 pm at the Park Street AME Zion Church. The parade will continue down Park street to the corner of Park and Broad Street. The parade will then make a left onto Broad Street traveling one block to Brown Street where it will then make a right turn traveling all three blocks of Brown Street. It will pass by the Paramount Hudson Valley, Esther Place, and the Peekskill Coffee House. At the corner of Brown and S. Division Street, the parade will make a right turn onto Division Street and travel along Division Street passing in front of Gleason’s, Slainte, Scott Camera, A.S.A.P. Mortgage, and the Fern Tree where the brand new Harriet Tubman Mural will gracefully look down on the parade for the very first time.

The Harriet Tubman statue at the intersection of Central Avenue and N. Division Street, across from the gazebo. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

As the Parade heads towards the Gazebo, where the Dignitary Stage will be, the parade will also pass by the Harriet Tubman – Beacon of Hope Monument which will be one of the very last times the public will be able to see the traveling statue before it makes its way to visit the next city. The parade will continue the last block up Division Street through Restaurant Row where it will end at the corner of Main and Division. 

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  • The 2023 Juneteenth Parade Photo Courtesy of the Peekskill BID Facebook Page

  • The 2023 Juneteenth Parade Photo Courtesy of the Peekskill BID Facebook Page

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Immediately following the 13th annual Juneteenth parade will be the Downtown Juneteenth Festival by the Gazebo on Park Street. The festival, which will run from 1:30 to 7:00 pm, will feature over 32 craft vendors, specializing in cultural items, jewelry, clothing, and craft goods; 25 community tables, food trucks and food vendors, and entertainment including  BaseCamp (The #1 R &B Band), the Harvard Scholars, Peekskill S.T.A.R.S., Just the Place Dancers, Fun Bunch Line Dancing and more. 

The 13th annual Juneteenth parade will be led by Grand Marshals Dr. Glenetta Phillips, Kenneth Phillips, and Todd Scott. Grand Ambassadors to the parade will be National Pan-Hellenic Council of Westchester County – Kemba Ellerbe, President. The parade will include a plethora of local organizations and marching bands including Magic Soul Drumline, MOBC Band, X-Factor, Peekskill Marching Band, and Ice Cold Performing Band.

Dr. Glenetta Phillips is a Program Specialist and Practicum Supervisor for the Center for Applied Learning and Career Education at SUNY Westchester Community College.

Kenneth Phillips is a 40 year professional serving as the Fuel and Ash Manager at WIN-Waste Innovations. Kenneth’s mother was the Reverend Jeannette J. Phillips, one of the founders of the Peekskill Health Center. WIN-Waste is located at Charles Point. 

Todd Mason Scott is Senior Vice President, Managing Partner and Head of Practices Kyndryl US. Kyndryl is the world’s largest provider of IT infrastructure services designing, building, managing, and modernizing enterprise IT infrastructure systems. Todd has the global responsibility of managing AT&T, one of Kyndryl’s top clients. Scott was a basketball standout under coach John Moro in the early 1980’s at Peekskill High School  where he was the leading ball scorer, holding  the PHS Red Devils all time scoring record with 2057 points. Elton Brand finished with 2039 points. 

The Grand Ambassadors to this year’s Juneteenth Parade is the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Westchester County led by President, Kemba Ellerbe. The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative umbrella council composed of historically African American fraternities and sororities. It promotes the well-being of its affiliate fraternities and sororities, and promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other media for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.

What is Juneteenth?

Simply, Juneteenth is a day that we celebrate and  honor the anniversary of the freedom granted to those enslaved African Americans. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. However, due to the geographical location and size of Texas, many people did not know the war had ended, therefore, slavery continued and remained relatively unaffected.

Two months after the Civil War ended, and over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, letting people know the war was finally over, the Union had won, and to officially order the emancipation of all slaves in Texas. 

General Granger’s arrival in Galveston that June signaled freedom for Texas’s 250,000 enslaved people. Celebrations broke out among newly freed black people, and Juneteenth was born. That December, slavery in America was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment.

The following year, in 1866, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day” on June 19. In the ensuing decades, Juneteenth commemorations featured music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities, and as Black people migrated from Texas to other parts of the country the Juneteenth tradition spread.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday; several others followed suit over the years. In June 2020, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo made Juneteenth an official New York State Holiday. The following year, Congress passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday and President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021.

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About the Contributor
Dave Mueller
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]