Exmore Hosts Annual Juneteenth Festival in Town Park

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Above from left are Julia Sims, Betty Sims-Bell, Sherene Joseph, Yvonne Jones, and Angela Smith. Sims-Bell and Jones are members of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority and Smith represents the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Story and Photos by Stefanie Jackson – The 23rd annual Juneteenth festival in Exmore on Saturday, June 18, celebrated the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas finally heard the news that they had gained their freedom, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

More than 150 years later, American women and men, regardless of race or color, are celebrating the freedom to live up to their full potential and make a difference in the lives of others.

Juneteenth festivities in Exmore included a parade, live music, food, and shopping, but also people dedicated to the preservation of history, education, the improvement of public health and safety, and the promotion of not just physical but psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Exmore Town Park welcomed a host of individuals, organizations, and agencies, including:

• Jane Cabarrus, Juneteenth event organizer

• Gerald Boyd, Eastern Shore Training and Consulting

• Virginia Department of Health

• Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital

• Eastern Shore Rural Health

• Northampton County Sheriff’s Office

• U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Norfolk Field Office

• Eastern Shore of Virginia Regional Library; Tiffany Flores, youth services librarian

• Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative; Charles Williams Sr., Shirley Galloway, and Valentine Evans 

• Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority

• Zeta Phi Beta sorority

• Finale Norton, past candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates

• Danyelle Custis, founder of The Set Truth nonprofit for young women

• Tanikwa Matthews, CEO of WAVE (Women Achieving Victory Everywhere), a nonprofit for military women and families 

Danyelle Custis displays the logo for her nonprofit, The Set Truth, which supports the personal growth of women ages 15 to 21.
Charles Williams Sr. displays a sample of bricks he is selling to raise money for the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative.
Shirley Galloway displays a sample of bricks she is selling to raise money for the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative.
Tanikwa Matthews is on hand to discuss WAVE, her nonprofit for military women and families.
Finale Norton, past candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, smiles for the camera.
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