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On eve of Juneteenth, Vienna kicks off Liberty Amendments Month for second year

Vienna’s logo for Liberty Amendments Month painted on Patrick Henry Library (photo by Amy Woolsey)

In the Town of Vienna, Juneteenth will be just the start of a month of celebrating the halting steps America has taken toward true equality and reflecting on the work that still needs to be done.

The town will kick off its second annual Liberty Amendments Month tomorrow (Saturday) with a Juneteenth Celebration at the First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard Street NW). The event will unfold from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an opening ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

Commemorating the June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Texas were declared free under the Emancipation Proclamation, the festivities will include African drumming and dance performances, an Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band, a car show, food trucks, vendors, and a kids’ book giveaway.

The celebration will usher in four weeks of events and activities dedicated to the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution, which abolished slavery, expanded citizenship rights, and granted voting rights to Black people and women.

“These four amendments…helped bring the nation closer to that ideal of a more perfect Union,” Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton said in a news release. “Liberty Amendments Month is an opportunity for everyone to rededicate themselves to the principles of our nation’s foundational documents and to celebrate the common ground that binds us as one, unified nation.”

Established by the Vienna Town Council in December 2020, Liberty Amendments Month was conceived by Payton in response to racial justice protests spurred by George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer.

The Virginia General Assembly also designated June 19 through the third Monday in July of every year as Liberty Amendments Month statewide in February 2021.

Vienna celebrated its first Liberty Amendments Month last summer. The festivities included 65 different activities that drew more than 21,000 attendees, according to the town.

Events and activities planned for this year’s occasion range from mini festivals and museum exhibits on each of the amendments to a July 14 trip to the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial and Lucy Burns Museum in Lorton and a July 6 documentary screening and panel discussion on race at the Vienna Community Center.

A full calendar of events can be found at viennava.gov/Liberty.

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