June 16 celebrations supported by PA Tourist Board

Grants to seven organizations will expand June 16 celebrations

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Today, the Wolf administration joined the nonprofit organization Voices Underground to announce the seven recipients of Journeying Toward Freedom grants through the Pennsylvania Tourist Board, who will support the celebrations June 19 across the Commonwealth in 2022.

“Juneteenth is a particularly significant holiday because it recognizes the day our nation began to fulfill its destiny as a nation where everyone is free,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, undersecretary for marketing, tourism and film. at the Department of Community and Economy. Development (DCED). “I am proud that we are not only helping to give this important holiday the recognition it deserves, but that we are building the stories of many Americans who have historically been underrepresented in our cultural assets. By promoting Juneteenth, we demonstrate that we are a welcoming and respectful Commonwealth.

This is the first year of the journey to freedom grant program, which was created by the Pennsylvania Tourist Board in partnership with Voices Underground as part of a commitment to see Pennsylvania become the national leader in African-American cultural heritage tourism and ensure that stories of all Pennsylvanians are uplifted and heard.

Underground voices, a Chester County-based organization with extensive experience promoting African American cultural history through scholarly research, transformative experiences, and historical memorialization, administers Journeying Toward Freedom 2022 in partnership with the Pennsylvania Office of Tourism. In 2021, Voices Underground aided Chester County’s efforts to organize a multi-day Juneteenth Festival that included walking tours, exhibits, performances and artist talks, which celebrated Afro-American history and culture. Americans.

“We are especially excited to partner with the Pennsylvania Tourist Board as we seek creative ways to share stories, experiences, and most importantly as we seek to personalize invitations for all ‘truth seekers’ to travel together. as we dig up and recite the full American narrative,” said Alex Parham, co-executive director of Voices Underground. “I remember a quote from Desmond Tutu, ‘My humanity is linked to yours, for we can only be human together.’ I also appreciate the action taken after this national holiday was approved, the process of creating this holiday, the change that should occur to put people’s minds and minds in the right place, is really what we want. We’re going in the best direction right now.”

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June 19, celebrates the anniversary of the day in 1865 when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, and enslaved African Americans realized they had been freed. In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf declared June 19 of each year as June 19 National Freedom Day. Last year, President Joe Biden signed a law recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

“I am proud of Governor Wolf and this administration for recognizing June 16 as a holiday,” said LaDeshia Maxwell, executive director of the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs. “As the Pennsylvania Tourist Board and Voice Underground announce today’s grant recipients, my commission and I call on all Commonwealth residents, regardless of racial or ethnic background, to learn and teach our young people about this special holiday, and urge them to attend it (or other local celebrations) to learn more about our nation’s history so that we can truly move forward together.

This year’s Juneteenth festivals in Pennsylvania will include music, visual arts, culinary arts, spoken word productions, history presentations and recognition of Black-owned businesses.

“As one of America’s largest annual festivals committed to telling the story and founding of our nation, we are honored to be included in such an incredible cohort of organizations dedicated to commemorating June 19. in our Commonwealth,” said Michael DelBene, President and CEO of Welcome America, Inc.

A total of $89,000 is awarded under the grant program. These grants were awarded based on criteria that included historical significance, communications and marketing plans, educational outreach, volunteer resources, and matching funds. The seven recipients of the 2022 Journeying Toward Freedom Fellowships are:

  • Juneteenth Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley – $10,000
  • NAACP Johnstown Branch, Johnstown – $4,000
  • Sherman Theater, Monroe County – $15,000
  • Stop the Violence, Pittsburgh – $15,000
  • Happy Valley Adventure Office, State College – $15,000
  • Welcome America, Inc., Philadelphia – $15,000
  • Young Professionals of Color, Harrisburg – $15,000

In addition to Journeying Toward Freedom, the Pennsylvania Tourist Board is investing $6.8 million in new initiatives that will promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in marketing, messaging, and travel development. products in order to capture greater market share and, most importantly, in our approach to how we welcome travelers to the Commonwealth, leaving a positive impact on the industry for decades to come.

The Pennsylvania Office of Tourism, housed within the Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to Pennsylvania. From iconic attractions to hidden gems, tourism in Pennsylvania helps support the state’s economy and creates jobs for local businesses, while improving the quality of life for residents.

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Penny Ickes, DCED, [email protected]

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