The communities of Edison, Metuchen and Woodbridge held June 18 celebrations on June 18.
In Edison, township officials held its inaugural celebration at Papaianni Park. The event included music, food and local vendors.
The Metuchen Downtown Alliance, the Metuchen Commission on Human Relations, and the Metuchen Edison branch of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) hosted its second annual Afro-Futurism-themed celebration.
Downtown featured artwork focused on Afro-futurism, a literary, musical, and futuristic-themed science-fiction movement incorporating elements of black history and culture.
Attendees learned about the holidays and enjoyed performances by drumline performers, step-dancer and cheerleader from SoulPhamm United, Steppaz with Attitude and Positive Movement Entertainment from Philadelphia.
Prior to Juneteenth, downtown Metuchen featured artwork focused on Afro-futurism.
Due to the wind, the screening of “Black is King”, a film produced by Beyonce with an Afro-futurism lens, was canceled.
On June 19, Suite Metuchen hosted a panel of vendors for a Juneteenth pop-up store, which featured Curios by Jess, Black & Golden Natural Oils, We Are Wonderfully Made, Taste of Shay and Luna Lux Collections.
In Woodbridge, Councilor Kyle Anderson of Woodbridge Organization of Neighbors Advocating for Change hosted a celebration on the grounds behind Woodbridge High School.
Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865.
However, New Jersey did not fully recognize the celebration of African American culture until 2021. Previously, on September 10, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that designates the third Friday in June as a holiday and audience, known as Juneteenth. (short for June Nineteenth) Day.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which made Juneteenth an official federal holiday.