ELLSWORTH — All are invited to join in commemorating Juneteenth 2023 at Knowlton Park, 11 Shore Road, Ellsworth, Maine on Monday, June 19 from 2 to 6 p.m. “Deepening Our Vital Connection to Nature and Each Other” will feature music, poets, speakers, and free delectable food from the celebrated tv personality and author, Chef Chris Scott and others.

Every year, Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, were first told that they were freed from slavery, nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. As we celebrate Juneteenth, it is important to recognize it as an opportunity to highlight Black people in business and the arts who have been and continue to be central to the formation and growth of Maine. It is an opportunity for exposure to the diversity that exists in this state as we’re reminded that the struggle for freedom and equality persists.

The admission-free Juneteenth Commemoration event is open to all and will feature an exciting lineup of musicians, poets, speakers, restaurants, artisans, and museums, to offer an engaging, educational, inspirational, and fun experience for all ages. Featured performers include Maine’s own Pihcintu Multinational Girls’ Chorus and Stream Reggae. Chief-Nze Oscar Mokeme, CEO and Founding Director of The Museum of African Culture located in Portland, Maine returns with the ‘Touch Table’ featuring masks from the museum and the Blessing event which moved so many participants last year. There will be hands-on activities for both children and adults as well as tables for vendors. The Commemoration on Monday will be broadcast live on WERU Community Radio 89.9 FM, and at WERU.org as well as video streaming through www.juneteenthdowneast.org

For the full list of the Day’s speakers and the program schedule, please visit https://juneteenthdowneast.org. Follow @JuneteenthDowneast on Facebook for event updates.

Weekend on the Water

New this year, Juneteenth Downeast invites people of color and their families to a Weekend on the Water, June 17-18. This is an opportunity for Black people to reframe a traumatic history with the sea by having access to ‘how to sail’ and ‘how to kayak’ courses that will introduce participants to ongoing programs available in the area.

This year’s inaugural Weekend on the Water aims to build opportunities for Black people and other people of color to engage and explore together in the outdoors. Activities will include camping at Lamoine State Park, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, hiking, fishing, and swimming. Admission is free and spaces are limited. Register to join for the weekend, a day, or a single activity at https://bit.ly/WoWRegisterNow.

The 2023 Juneteenth Downeast Commemoration and Weekend on the Water events are being organized by a collaboration among community organizations, businesses, and individuals, including MDI Racial Equity Working Group, Healthy Acadia, Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP, YWCA MDI, Downeast Diversity, The Exercise Design Lab, Black Spirit 4 Life, Mano en Mano | Hand in Hand, The Jackson Laboratory, and Friends of Acadia. The 2023 Juneteenth Commemoration and Weekend on the Water are funded in part by grants from The Maine Humanities Council, Maine Initiatives, and the Nature Based Education Consortium, as well as by the amazing generosity of individuals, businesses, and organizations in our community. To make a donation in support of the 2023 Downeast Juneteenth Commemoration and Weekend on the Water events, visit bit.ly/juneteenthdowneast. Juneteenth Downeast is fiscally sponsored by Healthy Acadia.

For additional information please email juneteenthdowneast@gmail.com, find the event on Facebook @JuneteenthDowneast, or call 207-558-2313.

Juneteenth Downeast is a community coalition organizing the annual commemoration of Juneteenth in the Ellsworth/MDI area, guided by the vision and leadership of Black members of our coalition. Juneteenth Downeast exists to give people of the African diaspora a place to connect, and opportunities to replenish that which was taken away. Whether through connection to the land, the water, to resources, or to each other. For more information, visit juneteenthdowneast.org

Healthy Acadia is a 501(C)(3) community health organization building vibrant communities and making it easier for all people to lead healthy lives throughout Washington and Hancock counties. For more information about Healthy Acadia’s health and wellness programs and services, visit healthyacadia.org.