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Marietta College will once again host a Juneteenth National Independence Day celebration, welcoming the campus and the greater Marietta community to special programming designed to educate people on the importance of his national holiday.

“Though the official holiday is on June 19, the College’s event will take place on Friday, June 14, starting at 5:30 p.m., in the Hermann Fine Arts Center on Butler Street,” said Tony Mayle, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Associate Dean of Students at Marietta College. “The educational materials provided will be free of cost, accompanied by guest speakers Ilene Evans, as Harriet Tubman, and Hermana Glass-Hill, who will discuss the life of Susie King Taylor. Guests will receive different forms of literature that discuss the history and the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation and how it connects with our location. These pieces of literature will be given away for free, as well as items honoring Juneteenth such as keychains, cups, and raffle prizes.”

Mayle said the event is co-sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Valley Civil War Round Table and includes a partnership with the McDonough Center for Leadership & Business.

Nagisa Harada ’25 (Setagaya-ku, Japan), Hinata Sotsuda ’26 (Kamakura-Shi, Japan), and Kaliyah Hairston ’27 (Clarksburg, West Virginia) are Marietta students working in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and have helped organize this year’s event.

“My role in organizing this year's event was to help create a booklet, organize and list the items, and come up with ideas for yard games for this event,” Sotsuda said. “I hope the attendees learn about the historical significance of Juneteenth and gain a deeper understanding of African American culture and heritage.”

Harada believes it is important to welcome the entire community to the celebration because it fosters a sense of unity and inclusivity and promotes cultural awareness, education, and mutual respect.

“I hope the attendees learn the significance of the day and its historical background,” Harada said. “We have activities that were played during the enslaved era or have roots in African American culture. Additionally, we will have many red-colored foods, symbolizing the blood of the millions of enslaved people who suffered and died. I hope the attendees gain significant insights through our activities, food, and overall experience.”

Hairston, who attended the Marietta College’s Civil Rights trip to Alabama during the fall semester, has also been working hard to help organize the event’s programming and looks forward to welcoming the greater Marietta area to campus to learn more about the history of the national holiday.

“Juneteenth is a really big deal for the African American community,” Hairston said. “As an African American, I’m excited to be able to educate those around me about my amazing culture. I hope that the people attending leave with a better understanding of what Juneteenth is, and why it's so special!”