Juneteenth event planned in Hudson

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Musicians from the group Crocodile River Music talk to community members after their performance at last year’s Hudson Juneteenth event. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – Hudson’s second annual Juneteenth event this year will feature a sidewalk parade march, speeches and entertainment on June 20 from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Mercedes Murphy of the Phoenix Fund Collaborative is helping organize the event with Hudson High School’s Students Against Racism group. 

“The importance of it now is to celebrate and honor and recognize Black American history,” Murphy said of Juneteenth in an interview last week. “For our celebration, we’re hoping to bring that awareness to our town.”

Juneteenth celebrates when enslaved African American people in Texas were freed on June 19, 1865. It has been celebrated since by African Americans throughout the country, recently becoming formally recognized at the federal, state and local levels.

Murphy said that the event will start with the Students Against Racism leading a sidewalk parade march from Wood Park to Hudson’s Town Hall. 

At Town Hall, organizers plan to host speeches from State Rep. Kate Hogan and State Sen. Jamie Eldridge. Students from Hudson High School will also give speeches and read poems. 

The Worcester-based Crocodile River Music will be among the musical performers.

“They’re an African music group that informs, educates and inspires through African music and African-inspired music,” Murphy explained.

Holyoke-based R&B artist Marlon Jerome will perform age-appropriate versions of his songs, Murphy continued. Edwin Cruz and José Villanueva of the H-Town podcast will also be at the event.

Vendors will be present at Town Hall, including Constant Elevation Clothing from Stow, local jeweler Esha Washington and BadGal Esthetics from Clinton. 

“We are going to hopefully end the event with a potluck-style meal where people will just come and bring food to share over at the Unitarian Church,” Murphy said. 

The Hudson Library is, likewise, preparing a story walk featuring the book “What It Means to be Free” by Opal Lee.

This month’s Juneteenth event will feature the kickoff to the Phoenix Fund Collaborative community quilt project, where people can draw or write a message they want to share with Hudson on a square quilt piece to be sewn together.

Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/PhonoenixFundCollaborative/

And contribute to a GoFundMe raising money for festival expenses at https://gofund.me/1030ce26. 

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