Hudson County Community College to Host Juneteenth Event Celebrating Freedom Through the Arts

June 14, 2023

The evening of inspirational performances is open to the entire community.


June 14, 2023, Jersey City, NJ – African Americans have long demonstrated resilience and heroism in their fight for hard-won liberties to end oppression. Although the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln ended slavery in the Confederate states, it was not implemented until Union soldiers marched into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to announce that more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free by executive decree. Celebrations following this monumental event included prayers, feasts, songs, music, and dance. Thus, “Juneteenth” was born.

Hudson County Community College (HCCC) invites community members, students, faculty, and staff to join the HCCC 2023 “Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Through the Arts” on Wednesday, June 21 at 6 p.m. in the Benjamin J. Dineen III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery on the sixth floor of the HCCC Gabert Library. Pamela Gardner, lifelong educator and a member of the HCCC Board of Trustees, will serve as Program Host. The event will include song, spoken words, words of inspiration, dance, gospel music performances, and a special keynote address. The HCCC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the HCCC African American Outreach Committee, are hosting the event. Food and refreshments will be provided.


Pictured here are the entertainers who will perform at Hudson County Community College’s “Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Through the Arts” on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

Pictured here are the entertainers who will perform at Hudson County Community College’s “Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Through the Arts” on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. From left to right, Karma, Rhudy Snelling, Jr., Rashad Wright, and The King's Daughters of Praise.

Ratified on December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution made emancipation a national policy, prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude. The exception was punishment for crime — ushering in post-Civil War incarceration and labor practices. The “separate but equal” Jim Crow-era of segregation sparked America’s Civil Rights movement, and, today, the Black Lives Matter movement continues the evolution of Black and African American history. 

President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in 2021 to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday in response to the efforts of Lula Briggs Galloway, Opal Lee, and others. Juneteenth has become a symbol of hope and transformation, inspiring and empowering African Americans to run for political office, advocate causes, and fight for representation.

HCCC officially recognized the observance of Juneteenth in 2021 as a floating holiday. The College’s 2023 “Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Through the Arts” program will include:

  • Invocation by Reverend Kevin Williams, Pastor, Claremont Presbyterian Church;
  • Musical Performance by Jersey City artist, Karma;
  • Welcome by Yeurys Pujols, HCCC Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;
  • Greetings from Joyce Watterman, Jersey City Council President;
  • Spoken Word by Rashad Wright, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Jersey City;
  • Two Dance Performances by The King’s Daughters of Praise, Trinity Faith Church of the Living God, Jersey City;
  • Gospel Solo by Rhudy Snelling, Jr., Director of Community Engagement and Clergy Affairs, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office;
  • Keynote Address by Bakari Lee, Vice Chair of the HCCC Board of Trustees; and
  • Closing Remarks by Dr. Christopher Reber, HCCC President.

The HCCC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) promotes an institutional climate that embraces and celebrates differences while championing equitable and inclusive practices, policies, and procedures College-wide. The Office leads and supports practices that foster safe, inclusive, and accessible facilities and activities for all community members. DEI offices, organizations, and practices at the College include accessibility services, cultural affairs, the President’s Advisory Council for DEI, Title IX compliance, international student services, and Veterans’ Affairs.

The Office of DEI partners with campus-wide units and stakeholders who stand firm in embedding diverse voices, supports, equitable policies, and more. Throughout the year, the Office of DEI sponsors and holds free educational opportunities for students, staff and the community that include performances, seminars, art exhibits, poetry readings, and more.