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'Freedom Day': Historic inaugural Juneteenth celebration in Niagara Falls

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Tue, Jun 18th 2019 01:20 pm

Two Queens Production and the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center have teamed up to bring the first “Freedom Day” to Niagara Falls. Residents and the surrounding communities are cordially invited to a celebration of Juneteenth – a day of family fun on the grounds of the Heritage Center, neighboring the Amtrak Station. Festivities are from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at 825 Depot Ave. West, Niagara Falls.

The celebration will include a variety of activities for attendees of all ages. A kids’ zone will feature clowns, face-painting, carnival games and prizes. Live music will be provided by African drummers. DJ Eclipse will provide tunes for the afternoon's musical enjoyment and patrons wanting to participate in line dancing. An art show, history educators a media and film presentation that coincides with expert panelist available for discussion will round out the event. Niagara Falls’ first black-owned news publication will be available to the public.

Admission to the Heritage Center is free. An array of retail vendors, food vendors, resource and service vendors will complete the day’s robust offerings.

Felicia Johnson of Two Queens Production said, "I am so excited about 'Freedom Day.' It's the inaugural Juneteenth celebration in Niagara Falls, on the historical site where Harriet Tubman, abolitionists and supporters of human equality lead many formerly enslaved freedom seekers to this port of freedom. I look forward to this celebration becoming an annual event."

Caitlin Blue, visitor experience specialist at the Heritage Center, said, “As our struggle for liberation continues, we need to remember Juneteenth as a cause for celebration, a celebration for our ancestors. On this day, it’s important to remember their voices.”

About the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center is a new, experiential museum that reveals authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls, and aims to inspire visitors to recognize modern injustices that stem from slavery and take action toward an equitable society. In opened in May 2018.

The permanent exhibition “One More River to Cross” features the rich stories of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls, the crucial role played by its location and geography, and the actions of its residents – particularly its African American residents.

The Heritage Center’s immersive exhibits and cutting-edge interpretation affirmatively align with the principles of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, whose mission is to connect the past to modern social justice issues – “to turn memory to action.”

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