Schedule of Events

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is Juneteenth, and why are we commemorating it?

Known to some as the country's "second Independence Day," Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War.

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.

For more than 150 years, African American communities across the country have observed this holiday. As of 2022, Juneteenth will be a recognized holiday at the federal-, state-, and local level.

What is the UNITY Project?

In June 2016, Nancy Belmont created UNITY, an interactive public art project as a response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics.

It was created to raise consciousness about the labels we give ourselves and others and explore how those labels support or limit building interconnected, interesting communities.

UNITY is a larger-than-life structure that helps us celebrate our uniqueness and strengthens our ties to each other.

You can find more information at

What can I expect at the event?

You can expect to have an accessible, inclusive, and fun time!

  • You can help to build the UNITY art installation by adding a string of yarn that represents some of the identifiers from your human experience. It's fun, and it only takes about 10-15 minutes. All ages can participate in the art installation.

  • We'll also have a scavenger hunt that's fun for kids and educational for adults.

  • There'll be a cozy living room setup where participants are encouraged to strike up a conversation with a new friend.

  • We'll have arts & crafts setup for the little ones (and not so little ones).

  • Minister Daniel Gregoire from the Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton will be our guest speaker, and we'll have a reading of the "Emancipation Proclamation."

  • We'll have food trucks!

Can we still contribute to the UNITY project if we can't make it to the event?

Yes! The art installation will stay up in the park before- and after the event; please reach out to and we can set up a time to staff the installation.

Will there be food and beverages available?

Yes! We've partnered with two BIPOC owned food truncks, Uncle E's BBQ Express and The Carribean Press to offer some delicious food and drink throughout the day.

How can I volunteer or donate?

That would be amazing! We have a volunteer signup page here.

What if I have other questions?

Please email us at or post on the Grafton RISE page on Facebook. See also Juneteenth for history, celebrations, references, merchandise.