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Juneteenth Freedom celebration

The Village Initiative has been a leader in bringing a descendant-led celebration of Juneteenth to Williamsburg. The Village hosts an annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration each year, bringing Black history and culture to the city center.

2024

Upcoming Juneteenth Freedom Celebration 

The Village Initiative invites everyone to our Fourth Annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on the official national holiday, June 19 from 1-7pm on the lawn of the Williamsburg Community Building, 401 N. Boundary Street. This celebration features live music and entertainment, free food and food vendors, children’s entertainment, a Freedom Marketplace, a Black Authors Circle, and so much more. Miss Juneteenth USA, Sunshine Huggins, will also attend our event.
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2023

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration 

The Village Initiative’s 2023 Juneteenth Freedom Celebration drew over 600 attendees to downtown Williamsburg. This event was truly historic and brought state-level attention to the City of Williamsburg. The first ever Miss Juneteenth Virginia, Sunshine Huggins, was crowned at The Village Initiative’s celebration and went on to win Miss Juneteenth, USA. Equally important, the celebration was a powerful community-building event.
In addition to the crowning of our second annual Lil’ Mr. and Miss Juneteenth Williamsburg, the event featured phenomenal entertainment with three bands, the Local Strut Runway Productions fashion show from North Carolina, a children’s clown, and a Local Black Histories community art project in collaboration with William & Mary Distinguished Artist Steve Prince. Black-owned vendors had opportunities to sell their food and crafts and build their economic viability.

2022

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration

In 2022, The Village Initiative’s Juneteenth Freedom Celebration brought hundreds of people to the Historic Triangle Block, commemorating the Black business district that was displaced by the City of Williamsburg in the 1970s under the auspices of “urban renewal”. The event linked the Emancipation Proclamation as a foundational moment in the struggle for freedom with continued struggles today.
Music, dance, food, and Black vendors were accompanied by a community art and oral history project honoring local Black leaders, Dr. J. Blaine Blayton, the first Black doctor in Williamsburg, and Mrs. Bessie Gerst, one of the first Black kindergarten teachers.
Integration Then & Now

NATIONAL WALK FOR JUNETEENTH AWARENESS

On August 26, 2019, the Village Initiative hosted hosted Ms. Opal Lee as she came to Williamsburg on August 26 as part of her walk across the country in a campaign to make Juneteenth a National Holiday.

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The Village invited Ms. Opal Lee to Williamsburg for a series of events celebrating Juneteenth, including a reading of her children's book for local youth at the Williamsburg Public Library followed by a walk through historic black neighborhoods that culminated at First Baptist Church where Ms. Lee rang the Freedom Bell.
To have Miss Opal is so meaningful, because I look at her as a light, a torch bearer. I am a future torchbearer because they have ran this race for so long, and now we are here to continue to the finish line.

Jacqueline Bridgeforth Williams

Founder of the Village

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Village founder Jackie Bridgeforth Williams with Ms. Opal Lee in August, 2019.

PLEASE visit Ms. Opal Lee's Website to learn more about her Mission to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday:

https://www.opalswalk2dc.com

Celebrating Community Leaders

Celebrating Community Leaders

The Village is committed to celebrating and honoring local leaders who have committed themselves to equity and empowerment for WJCC's Black and African American community.

On April 21, 2018, the Village hosted an event titled "Standing on the Shoulders of Greatness" at which we celebrated local leaders who have dedicated their lives to fighting for racial equity and justice in WJCC.
Look through the event program and photos below:
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