Ossining, a community with a deep-rooted African-American community, held the raising of the official Juneteenth flag on Wednesday, June 2 in Market Square. This event was hosted by the Juneteenth Council and attended by local, county, and state elected officials, as well as representatives from the Ossining Union Free School District, clergy from Ossining’s Black churches (Full Gospel Tabernacle Church, Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Holy Spirit Church, and HORAC Ministries), and students from Ossining High School My Brother’s Keeper program.
The flag will be flown throughout the entire month of June to acknowledge and honor the freedom of formerly enslaved Africans in America, as well as the ancestors of Ossining’s Black community. Ossining is the only community in Westchester County to raise this official flag and keep it raised through the month of June.
To continue the celebration, Ossining’s second annual Juneteenth celebration will be held at the Ossining Riverfront on Saturday, June 19, at 12:00 pm. Hosted by the Juneteenth Council in collaboration with the Town of Ossining, the event is inspired by the first Juneteenth celebration in Galveston, TX, in 1866. Curated to recreate that momentous day, the ceremony will focus on history and the importance of voting rights, and will feature spoken word and musical performances.
The Juneteenth Council noted “The raising of the Juneteenth flag carries incredible significance for Black Americans. The public acknowledgment of our ancestors’ enslavement in this country and subsequent freedom on June 19, 1865, is a step towards generational healing for all of us as descendants.”
“Juneteenth has been the under-recognized and under-celebrated second Independence Day in the United States, and I’m so proud that the Village of Ossining was able to raise the flag today to signify this momentous occasion. It is my hope that we make this an annual tradition and raise people’s consciousness to find common ground, with this simple yet profoundly democratic act.” said Mayor Rika Levin.
“On behalf of the Town Board of the Town of Ossining, we thank the Juneteenth Council for bringing us here today and helping us promote and celebrate Juneteenth. As we raise the flag and leave it up for the entire month of June, we have an opportunity to listen to, learn from, speak about and advocate for our African American and Black community here in Ossining, the contributions they have made and continue to make every day, and the important part of the fabric they form of this town,” said Supervisor Dana Levenberg. “We know that by learning about history and all that our Black community members have contributed, we can gain a better understanding of the struggle, the battles, and the obstacles these community members faced and continue to face, how they overcame them and what we can do now to give voice to the unheard and underrepresented to build a better Ossining.”