Mayor’s Column

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  It honors the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States on June 19, 1865.  Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.

The day is also called “Emancipation Day” and “Freedom Day.”

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862. It went into effect on January 1, 1863.  However, slaves were not set free in the Confederacy until the Union Army took over.  On June 18, 1865 the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas.  The next day General Gordon Granger announced that the slaves in Texas were free by order of the President of the United States.  The first Juneteenth celebration took place the very next year.

Celebrations of the day include parades, marches and barbecues. Many people get together for ceremonies that include public service awards, prayer and the raising of the Juneteenth Flag of Freedom. The flag is half red and half blue with a star in the middle.

Juneteenth also celebrates African American culture.

As the late United States Representative John Lewis righteously stated, “You must never ever give out.  We must keep the faith because we are one people. We all live in the same house, the American house.”

Former President Barack Obama once avowed, “Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do.”

Let us remember the wisdom and follow the lead.  There is still much work to do.

** The first free show in the Summer Concert Series is Thursday, June 23 at 7:30pm at Connolly Park, and will feature Parrot Beach, a Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band that appeals to all audiences. Enjoy some familiar Buffet songs like “Margaritaville,” “Volcano,” “Tin Cup Chalice” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”  The Beer Garden and food trucks will open at 6:30pm.  Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. For more information, visit or call the Show Hot Line at 856-882-SHOW.

** The Animal Welfare Association (AWA) open house is on Saturday, June 25 from 1pm-4pm.  For more information, contact Meggin at

** The Voorhees Arts Center re-opened on May 6 and will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 6pm, and starting June 1, the Center will be closed on Sundays. Art programs began on May 21, with the Kids Art Camp returning in July.

** Kindergarten registration for the Voorhees Township Schools is currently open and will remain open throughout the summer. Registration can be found at

** Voorhees Township is offering discounted tickets to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood. Tickets are available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Voorhees Town Hall. Prices vary according to the type of ticket and several options are available to residents and non-residents. For more information about tickets, visit