FEATURED, SEATED, FROM LEFT: Juneteenth Planning Committee members Sabrina Walker Hernández, CEO, Supporting World Hope; Dr. Theresa Gatling, Co-Pastor, Mount Olive Worship Center, McAllen; and Marsha Terry, RN MSN, Administrator, Terry Physical Therapy. Standing: C.J. Sánchez, Vice President, Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce. Not pictured are Elizabeth Flores, Dan-Eli Ace Forwarding, Inc; Sharon Almaguer, Almaguer Law Firm; and Marla Sandoval, HNI Healthcare.
Photograph By AMANDA RODRÍGUEZ
Village in the Valley (ViVa) Juneteenth Perfecting Unity Celebration, which will raise funds for scholarships and to help the poor in the area, scheduled for Saturday, June 11, 2022 in McAllen
Village in the Valley (ViVa), a South Texas community organization which is dedicated to educating people regarding culture and history, will be hosting its 2nd Annual Juneteenth Perfecting Unity Celebration on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Double Tree Suites by Hilton Hotel McAllen, according to Sabrina Walker Hernández, MPA, one of the leaders of the group.
The mission of Village in the Valley (ViVa), which was founded on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, is elevating and uniting the Black community while connecting to other cultures in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Double Tree Suites by Hilton Hotel McAllen is located at 1800 South 2nd Street.
The event, which also serves as a fundraiser for Village in the Valley (ViVa) humanitarian efforts, will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on day.
“Village in the Valley (ViVa) is happy to announce the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Perfecting Unity Celebration,” said Walker Hernández, a certified consultant, coach, facilitator, and author with deep roots in Edinburg. “Observing the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of slavery’s end in the United States, this celebration will kick off the Rio Grande Valley’s observation of this national holiday.”
Walker Hernández also currently serves on the Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.
Individuals or businesses which wish to participate in the celebration may purchase tickets for $100 each ($50 for Village in the Valley members), and a limited number of tables – each seating eight persons – are available for $1,250 per table.
Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased by visiting:
“The funds raised will allow Village in the Valley (ViVa) to continue to provide scholarships and vital support to the community through such program as the community closet which distributes clothing to those most in need,” Walker Hernández explained. “Annually, these donations will be applied to the areas of greatest need.”
During the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Perfecting Unity Celebration, paying guests will enjoy an evening of music, food, beverages, and a live auction – “as we celebrate what Juneteenth means to us – Perfecting Unity,” she added.
A choice of mystery box and live auction items will be offered, such as a Kirk Clark painting, South Padre Island get away, tickets in a luxury suite for a San Antonio Spurs game courtesy of Noble Texas Builders.
“VIP guest will be welcomed with a red-carpet experience from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, followed by a live gospel choir performance,” Walker Hernández said. “Dr. Francisco Guajardo, CEO, Museum of South Texas History, will serve as the keynote speaker highlighting the Southern Underground Railroad and the Rio Grande Valley connection.”
A child of the South Texas and northeastern Mexico borderland, Guajardo was raised on both sides of the border, attended public schools in the rural community of Edcouch-Elsa in the Rio Grande Valley, and became an educator.
He earned a B.A. in English, an M.A. in History and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in History, Curriculum & Instruction, and Educational Administration from University of Texas at Austin.
Guajardo worked in public schools as a teacher and administrator for 12 years and as a professor and administrator in higher education for 18 years.
He has authored or co-authored three books and more than 70 articles on topics that include education, community leadership, history, organizational development, Latino epistemologies and museum leadership.
In September 2019, he became CEO of the Museum of South Texas History.
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early-to mid-19th century. It was used by enslavedAfrican Americans primarily to escape into free states and Canada. The network was assisted by abolitionists and others sympathetic to the cause of theescapees.
The enslaved who risked escape and those who aided them are also collectively referred to as the “Underground Railroad”.
Various other routes led to Mexico, where slavery had been abolished, and to islands in the Caribbean that were not part of the slave trade.
TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVE COMMISSION: STATE HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, a state agency, maintains on its website detailed information about Juneteenth in the Lone Star State.
Among its highlights of Juneteenth are:
Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the name given to Emancipation Day by African Americans in Texas. On that day in 1865 Union Major-General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 to the people of Galveston.
General Order No. 3 stated:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.
“The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
General Orders, No. 3. U.S. House, 54th Congress, 1st Session (H. Doc. 369, Part 2). “General Order Number 3,” 1896. U.S. Documents Collection. Y 1.1/2: SERIAL 3437
Large celebrations on June 19 began in 1866 and continued regularly into the early 20th century. African Americans treated this day like the Fourth of July, and the celebrations contained similar events.
In the early days, Juneteenth celebrations included a prayer service, speakers with inspirational messages, reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, stories from former slaves, food, red soda water, games, rodeos, and dances.
The celebration of June 19 as Emancipation Day spread from Texas to the neighboring states of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. It also appeared in Alabama, Florida, and California as African American Texans migrated.
In many parts of Texas, freedmen and women purchased land, or “emancipation grounds”, for Juneteenth gatherings.
• Emancipation Park in Houston, purchased in 1872;
• What is now Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia; and
• Emancipation Park in Austin.
Celebration of Juneteenth declined during World War II but returned in 1950 at the Texas State Fair Grounds in Dallas.
Interest and participation fell away during the late 1950s and 1960s as attention focused on expansion of freedom for African Americans.
In the 1970s Juneteenth revived in some communities.
For example, in Austin the Juneteenth celebration returned in 1976 after a 25-year hiatus.
Texas House Bill 1016 passed in the 66th Legislature, Regular Session, declared June 19, “Emancipation Day in Texas,” a legal state holiday effective starting in 1980.
Since that time, the celebration of Juneteenth continues across the state of Texas with parades, picnics, and dancing.
Find out more at the Juneteenth article in the Handbook of Texas from the Texas State Historical Association.
On Thursday, June 17, 2021, after unanimous passage in the United States Senate and subsequent passage in the House, President Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Many states, including Texas, have long recognized Juneteenth, but only some observe it as an official holiday.
This bill makes Juneteenth a national holiday.
Other Areas of Interest:
• First Push for African American Rights: Texans Struggle for Freedom and Equality.
• Forever Free: Nineteenth Century African American Legislators and Constitutional Convention Delegates of Texas.
• Juneteenth article in the Handbook of Texas from the Texas State Historical Association.
• In Recognition of Texans Who Worked for Equality.
• Texas Online Collections.
Resources Available Include:
• U.S. House, 54th Congress, 1st Session (H. Doc. 369, Part 2). “General Order Number 3,” 1896. U.S. Documents Collection. Y 1.1/2: SERIAL 3437. General Orders 3_Juneteenth (PDF).
• Let’s Pretend: Mae Dee and Her Family Join the Juneteenth Celebration, 1978. Ada DeBlanc Simond. Main collection. 976.431 SI56J.
• Juneteenth at Comanche Crossing, 1983. Doris Hollis Pemberton. Main Collection. 976.400496073 P369J.
•Juneteenth Texas: Essays in African-American Folklore, 1996. Francis Edward Abernathy. Texas Documents Collection. Z N745.7 T312f No.54.
• Juneteenth!: Celebrating Freedom in Texas, 1999. Anna Pearl Barrett. Main Collection. 394.263 B275j.
• Texas Monthly, “Texas Primer: Juneteenth,” 1988. Chester Rosson. Main Collection. 976.4005 T312mo V.16 No.1-6.
• Subject Vertical File, “Juneteenth Celebrations,” various dates. Main Collection. Vertical File Index.
MEMBERS SOUGHT FOR THE POLICY COUNCIL FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, WHICH IMPROVES STATE SERVICES TO FAMILIES OF CHILDREN WHO HAVE A DISABILITY; APPLICATIONS DUE BY SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2022
Texans interested in improving services for families of children who have a disability may wish to apply to be a member of the Policy Council for Children and Families.
The Policy Council for Children and Families works to improve the coordination, quality, efficiency and outcomes of services provided to children with disabilities and their families through the state’s health, education and human services systems.
The council produces a biennial report with recommendations to the Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Legislature.
The council includes family members of children with special health care needs and representatives of community, faith, business and other organizations.
Lori Urbina-Patlan of Edinburg and Jessica Ochoa currently serve on the 18-member Policy Council for Children and Families.
Cecile Erwin Young, Executive Commissioner, The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, will appoint members to the council to serve a term expiring Wednesday, December 31, 2025 or Thursday, December 31, 2026.
Applications are due by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, May 15, 2022.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will consider the applicants’ qualifications, background and interest in serving on the council and will try to choose council members who represent the diversity of all Texans.
For this reason, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission considers applicants’ ethnicity, gender and geographic location.
Currently, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is seeking representatives to be selected from the following categories:
• Member of a family of a child 25 or younger with mental health care needs;
• Member of a family of a child 25 or younger with a disability;
• Faith-based organization;
• Organization that advocates for children with disabilities;
• Organization that provides services to children with disabilities and their families;
• Physician providing services to children with disabilities and their families; and
• Person with expertise providing mental health services to children with disabilities.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will notify applicants if they have been selected to serve as a member of the Policy Council for Children and Families.
Applicants may also ask their respective state senator or state representative to contact Young in support of their application, and to follow-up on the status of their candidacy.
Applicants are recommended to take the following steps to submit their candidacy:
Review the Policy Council for Children and Families Application for Membership application letter to find out who the council is seeking as representatives and if you qualify.
After reviewing the application letter and verifying you meet the qualifications for at least one category, click on the application to apply to be on the council.
A council member must regularly take part in council meetings. They may also have to take part in subcommittee meetings or other related activities.
Council meetings are held about once every three months in Austin or at the call of the presiding officer. To the extent permitted by the current state budget, a council member who receives services from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission or is a family member of a child who receives services may be repaid for their travel expenses to and from meetings if money is available and in accordance with the HHSC Travel Policy.
Other council members aren’t paid to attend or travel to and from council meetings.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission prefers that you submit your application electronically, but you may submit the application by email, mail or fax to the following addresses:
Mail: Texas Health and Human Services Commission 701 W 51st Street Mail Code 0223 Austin, TX 78751 Attn: Susanna Sparkman Fax: 512-206-3984 Attn: PCC.
For more information about the application process, email Susanna Sparkman.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).