On Saturday, June 19, TMCC’s Recruitment and Access Center (RAC) team will join an in-person community event for the first time since March 2020, when public gatherings ceased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The family-friendly festival, held in honor of Juneteenth, marks an important moment in U.S. history.
“It’s very important for us, as a community college, to attend events like these,” said Carlos Castro Peralta, Adult and Non-Traditional Student Recruiter for the RAC. “We can tell people about all the degrees we offer, and other great opportunities like scholarships, internships, apprenticeships—in addition to many degrees—that we offer to high school students, college students and working or retired adults. So, it’s important for us to be out there. Also, as a community college, we need to support our community and we can do that by taking part in these kinds of festivals that celebrate and honor important dates like this one.”
Juneteenth: The Second Independence Day
While the passage of the Thirteen Amendment early in 1863 is cited as the official end of slavery in the United States, the reality was that slavery continued to exist in confederate states far from the nation’s capital. This was especially true in West Texas where Confederate control muted the Emancipation Proclamation that had been voiced two years before.
Yet, on June 19, 1865, 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas announcing that the 250,000 black people who were still under the purview of slavery were officially free. The day was called “Juneteenth” by those freed in Texas, marking a second independence day for the United States. Celebrating the event brings to light this important event in history that demonstrates the complexity of our nation’s past alongside the values of hope, positive change and freedom.
This will be the thirty-third year that the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society (NNBCAS) has celebrated Juneteenth in our community. This year, 26 community organizations will join the celebration at Dick Taylor Park from noon-3 p.m. In addition to learning more about the educational and career training opportunities at TMCC, event participants can visit booths for the Domestic Violence Resource Center, the Reno/Sparks NAACP, The Discovery Museum, among several others.
For those wanting to learn more about Juneteenth, NNBCAS Member Yusuf Wyatt will give a presentation on the holiday’s significance as well as a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at 1 p.m.
Getting Back into the Community
Between March and August, TMCC RAC team members typically attend around 35 events like the Juneteenth Celebration; last year marked perhaps the first time that TMCC did not attend any community events due to the ongoing pandemic. This year, you can find our TMCC RAC team at not only the Juneteenth Festival, but also at the Northern Nevada Pride Festival on Saturday, July 24 at Wingfield Park from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. as well as a Family Health Festival on the same day, hosted at North Valleys High School from 8 a.m.–noon.
“It’s important for us to celebrate and come together as a community for these kinds of events,” said Peralta. “It helps us to remember where we were as a society 100 years ago, and how we can continue to work together as a community and fight the injustices that are still here.”
For more information about TMCC’s Recruitment and Access Center, including where to find them at community events this summer, contact their office at 775-673-8236.