The fourth annual National Juneteenth Directors and Planners Meeting hosted attendees in-person Oct 15-17, in Tulsa, Okla., at the famed Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Nationwide affiliates of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) – including Valley of the Sun Juneteenth director Lanette Campbell, along with VOSJ spokesperson Gershom Williams were in attendance.

Founded more than 25 years ago by the late Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., NJOF – now under the leadership of Steven Williams – is the recognized expert on “all things Juneteenth.” It is the lead organization in the movement for the recognition of Juneteenth National In- dependence Day legislation signed June 17.

Williams said, “Rev. Myers brought Juneteenth to 43 states, 43 States. We are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us, we have come far, but we have far to go.”

Juneteenth directors and planners from around America toured historic Oklahoma Black towns, visited the Honey Springs Museum and the Greenwood community, site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The an- nual Friday Night Meet and Greet brought together the Juneteenth Nation, local community members, National Miss Juneteenth Scholar- ship Program contestants and elect- ed officials from the City of Tulsa and the State of Oklahoma.

There also were discussions, breakout sessions, town hall meet-

ing and featured speakers, including: Hon. Connie Johnson, former Oklahoma state senator and governor candidate; and Mrs. Opal Lee, 94-year-old activist known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth.”

The festivities – which adhered to CDC COVID-19 protocols – concluded with a well-earned celebration marking 27 years of advocacy for the Juneteenth holiday.

An exhibit area precented a trib- ute to the late Rev. Dr. Myers, Sr., recognized Oregon’s Grandmother of Juneteenth, the late NJOF board member Clara Peoples, and showcased posters from events across the nation in this first year of Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The national theme for June- teenth 2022 will be “Juneteenth Fathers of Freedom,” recognizing the United States Colored Troops, ‘the Black men with guns’ who brought the word of freedom to Galveston. Juneteenth National Independence Day, commemorating the June 19, 1865, announcement of freedom from enslavement in Galveston

Juneteenth is the first federal holiday since Martin Luther King Day was signed in 1983.

To learn more about NJOF email info@annualmeeting.us, call 888.509.NJOF (6563), or visit the website, NJOF.org

The Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Celebration will be June 18, 2022, in Phoenix, Ariz. Learn more at phxjuneteenth.com or call 602- 282-1555.

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