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Tamaka Carter, sings “Lifft Every Voice and Sing,” at the Juneteenth Celebration Flag Ceremony at Penn College on Friday. Carter is the treasurer of the Penn College Black Student Union. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY / Sun-Gazette

Endurance, freedom, suffering and joy.

That’s what “Lift up every voice and sing” recognized as the black national anthem, represents.

A moving rendition of the song was sung on Friday morning by Tamaka Carter, a Williamsport business administration student, as the Juneteenth flag was hoisted by Mayor Derek Slaughter and Black Student president Tiana M. Rawls-White. Union of Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The ceremony, which began at 10 a.m., kicked off a list of activities that continue today to mark the June 17 celebration at the college.

Freedom, liberty and justice for all

Juneteenth honors the June 19, 1865 reading of General Order No.3, by which the Union Army emancipated enslaved African Americans in Texas – the last state of Confederation with institutional slavery.

“I am overflowing with excitement” Rawls-White said he organized the event. “I am delighted to share with Black, Brown and all of the students and visitors the educational factor of Juneteenth at the college.”

She took a moment to share the meaning of the flag that was hoisted.

The white star has two representations. It represents Texas as the Lone Star State and the freedom of African Americans in all 50 states. The glow that draws the star is inspired by a nova, which meant a new star and a new beginning for black Americans.

The arc across the flag represents a new horizon, new opportunities and promises that lie ahead for black Americans.

The colors red, white and blue represent the American flag, reminding everyone that slaves and their descendants are American. The date is the day enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas became Americans by law.

Slaughter said Juneteenth is the oldest national commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States

On June 17, Juneteenth officially became a US federal holiday.

“We must continue to do the work of all those who came before us”, Slaughter said.

“Harriet (Tubman), Rosa (Parks), Martin (Luther King Jr.), Malcolm (X) and so many others before and after them crawled and walked, so that we could all run and fly, so that a a child like I could grow up to be the first colored mayor in Williamsport history.

Slaughter offered a quote in keeping with tradition: “Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make meaningful and lasting improvements in our society. “

“Let’s continue to educate each other, inspire and uplift each other so that we can be aware of each other’s experiences and make those lasting improvements in our society.

“It is the responsibility of each of us.”

Slaughter quoted the king: “Any work that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and must be undertaken with meticulous excellence. “

“Therefore,” Slaughter said, “I challenge all of us today, tomorrow and always to step out of your comfort zone, into awkward situations and engage in this work with painstaking excellence. ‘Cause that’s how we all learn and grow

in order to make these lasting improvements in our society.

“Most of the students are not on campus during June 15th”, said Rawls-White.

“We wanted to give students the opportunity to learn more about this celebration, especially those who may not be from an area that celebrates it, hence our welcome in September when we have more students. on the campus”, she declared, joined by Shaqira Drummond, vice-president of the Black Student Union.

Everyone shared how they saw more students of color enrolling in the college’s many courses.

To win union members over, management said it had raised awareness using Penn College Today, social media sites and the dropout wall, with posters on boards throughout the college calling for individuals to explore membership, black and non-black.

The list of activities was full. The Madigan Library featured work by black authors, and the college’s social media featured student organization leaders and inspiring people of color.

Today’s events include a 9 a.m. speech in the LEC loop – “If not us, then who?” “ – followed by a Freedom Walk from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Also, a Vendors Row of various products and services will be set up in the Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center shopping center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A question-and-answer panel will be held at 1:45 p.m. in the ACC Auditorium. The discussion will be moderated by Eric D. Pruden, Automotive Instructor and Black Student Union Advisor.

At 3 p.m., Kutztown University’s Black Flame Dance Team will perform on the PDC lawn, and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. there will be a ’90s-themed Juneteenth dance at PDC Lawn.

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