Community leaders set to hold Juneteenth celebration in GR

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — America is just days away from celebrating a national holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.

West Michigan community leaders are preparing to honor June 19 — also known as Juneteenth — a day that marks the end of slavery in the United States.

The Black Impact Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that provides programs for and uplifts the Black community in Grand Rapids, is set to hold an outdoor roller-skating event over Juneteenth weekend. Organizers said it will take place at Calder Plaza and is free for everyone.

The rink will open June 18 through June 20 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“This activation is just one opportunity to educate the community about our mission and the plight and liberation of Black people. It is also a celebration of the ongoing work and impact that BIC will make in this community for many years to come,” BIC Chair Dallas Lenear said in a news release.

Guest DJs will be performing during the celebration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening.

Cherry Health will also be at Calder Plaza to offer COVID-19 vaccinations on June 19 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Anyone who wishes to get a shot is encouraged to call Cherry Health’s COVID-19 Hotline at 616.965.8347 to register for an appointment. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cherry Health will also accept walk-ups and will register patients on site.

Patients are asked to mention that they are planning to be vaccinated on Juneteenth in order to receive gift cards sponsored by Cherry Health.

Community leaders said those who get their first vaccine will be given an appointment for their second one to be completed at Cherry Health’s Heart of the City Health Center, which is located at 100 Cherry Street.

For more details regarding the rink operations, other on-site Juneteenth programming and a listing of events in Grand Rapids, visit the Events & Engagements tab on BIC’s website.

The Black Graduate Student Association and Counseling Psychology Registered Student Organization at Western Michigan University have also scheduled a series of Juneteeth events for this week — some of which are virtual — including keynote speeches and a spoken word performance, as well as a solidarity march on June 19.

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