Juneteenth celebration in Lawrence to feature barbecue, contests, justice panel; still seeking sponsors

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Updated at 3:09 p.m. Wednesday, June 16:

The organizer of the Black Summer Juneteenth BBQ, slated for Saturday, has planned a big event — but she still wants to make it bigger. 

Trinity Carpenter had initially planned for Black Summer events to be spread over four weekends. Instead, she’s rolled almost all of the original plans into one celebration, set for noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 19 at Watson Park, 727 Kentucky St. 

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of slaves in America. Carpenter wants to make it a huge party for the Black community in Lawrence. 

There’s plenty of family fun planned: kid games at 1 p.m.; an art show with the theme “My Black is …” set for 4-6 p.m.; and from 6-8 p.m., a Spades contest, 3-0n-3 basketball, a cupcake war, and a rib cook-off, followed by prize announcements. There will also be free food and drinks. 

Carpenter said she wanted to highlight the justice panel, set for 2 p.m. Jerome Edwards, who has been seeking exoneration for a murder conviction, will share his story. PJay Carter, a community organizer, president of Black Lives Matter Topeka and member of the board of Kansas Holistic Defenders, will also speak on the panel, as will defense attorney Sam Allison-Natale, Carpenter said. Allison-Natale has been leading the push to establish Kansas Holistic Defenders as a nonprofit defender office in Douglas County.

Carpenter said she’s still seeking sponsors at all levels and donations for some of the cash prizes for the contests. As of Wednesday afternoon, an event fundraiser on Facebook had reached $1,580 of its $3,000 goal.

The event is partially funded by a racial equity grant through the United Way of Douglas County. Other sponsors so far include the Spencer Museum of Art, Doulas of Douglas County, Kansas Holistic Defenders, The Raven Book Store, Sisters With A Purpose (SWAP), Lawrence Mutual Aid Network, Sanctuary Alliance Lawrence KS, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health and Third Planet.

For more information or to become a sponsor, reach Carpenter at trinitycarpenter53@gmail.com

The Lawrence, KS Juneteenth Organization also has planned a virtual celebration. Read more about that here.

Flyer for the Black Summer Juneteenth BBQ

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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