Beecher plans to hold its first-ever Juneteenth celebration this year

FLINT, Michigan — The city of Beecher is planning to observe this year's Juneteenth holiday with its first-ever Juneteenth celebration. The 2-day event is anticipated to be the biggest ever in Beecher featuring a basketball game, parade, festival, and sneaker ball. Celebrity line dance king, Big Mucci, best known for his popular song and dance “The Biker’s Shuffle,” will be performing, along with local music artists.
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day.

The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.” Juneteenth honors the date, June 19, 1865, when the last Confederate community of enslaved Americans in Galveston, TX were informed that they had been freed from bondage. President Joe Biden signed the legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021. 

Flint Beecher alumni April Cook-Hawkins is organizing the event and aspires to bring hope back to the community. “We are encouraging the community and anyone who has love for Beecher to come out and be involved and simply enjoy one another,” said Cook-Hawkins. “I am excited for that old-school energy and nostalgic feeling we all used to experience riding up and down Coldwater Rd. I’m excited for the alumni game, you know, all I can think is 'Oh my goodness, it’s about to go down!'” 

Beecher will also be honoring the beloved, late basketball coaches Mr. Moses Lacy and Mr. Milton E. Tucker.

Beechers’ Juneteenth observance will include an 'Alumni vs. Students' basketball game and a parade led by Beecher's boys' basketball team as they celebrate their 10th State Title, the second-most in MHSAA history. 

Marquise Gray, former Flint Beecher All-State athlete and Michigan State University basketball forward, was named head basketball coach at Flint Beecher High School. He shared how it has taken consistency, discipline, perseverance, and a lot of faith to uphold the tradition of 10 state championships. Gray encourages the varsity team to stay focused by encouraging and speaking life into the men that they will become. 

Gray also expressed that he is looking forward to the community atmosphere at the upcoming Juneteenth events. “There’s so much crazy stuff happening in the community and just in the world,” he said. “It'll be good to be around some love. I’m looking forward to bringing the community out, having a good time, and loving on each other.”

The parade is free to the public and is scheduled to begin at Neff and Coldwater Rd., proceeding down Coldwater Rd. to Beecher High School. Free parking will be available for patrons at The Salvation Army located at 1475 Coldwater Rd.

The celebration will be hosted, in part; as a fundraiser to aid in the efforts of reopening the old high school building that has been closed for a decade now due to a lack of funding and the closure of General Motors plants. 

The parade will be followed by a festival featuring educational exhibits, food, and bounce houses for the youth. At least 32 vendors are participating in the event but vendors are still encouraged to submit applications, and parade entries are now being accepted on Eventbrite.

The list of Juneteenth events includes:
●       Juneteenth Alumni Basketball Game: Friday, June 16, at Beecher Field House, 1020 W. Coldwater Rd. The game starts at 6 p.m. Participants are encouraged to purchase tickets online but may also pay at the door.
●       Beecher State Champions Parade starts at noon on Saturday, June 17
●       Juneteenth Festival: Saturday, June 17, from 2-5 p.m. at Beecher High School.
●       Juneteenth Sneaker Ball: Saturday, June 17 at 8 p.m. Location TBA. 

For more information about Beecher's Juneteenth celebration, visit Eventbrite, or contact April Cook-Hawkins at: (810) 210-5045
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Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.