Group says June 19 plans ignored by Irondequoit City Council
City says it hasn’t heard from the band in months
IRONDEQUOIT, NY (WROC) — Juneteenth is a national holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. A member of the Irondequoit city council says the city council is proposing to scrap vacancies and the funding is about to fail.
The town responded by saying the proper meetings had not taken place and that Irondequoit is still honoring the holidays.
The Irondequoit Commission on Promoting Racial Equity — or ICARE — says it tried to schedule the June 17 events for June 17 and 18.
Patrina Freeman, council member and leader of ICARE, said the city voted to hold discussions from June 16 to May 10, with public participation only allowed at a council meeting on May 17. ICARUS says that would only give them a month to organize the June 19 events.
“We don’t get one, the funding…and two, the staff members were told they shouldn’t work with me to order this,” Freeman said.
But city supervisor Rory Fitzpatrick says he asked ICARE — an advisory committee, not part of the board — to help and plan. He says he hasn’t heard from them since January 4.
“We just need to collaborate and meet and discuss what’s going to happen; we want to include every organization here in town,” Fitzpatrick said.
He adds that Juneteenth is big and will be celebrated. “We’re lucky to have two events here that we’re going to do. One is a municipal event and the other is organized by a group called ‘ERASE’ (Eliminating Racism & Seeking Equity).
Freeman says getting funding for the ICARUS event shouldn’t be difficult, and doing Juneteenth isn’t new. “We actually did two during the pandemic, so we know how to handle that,” she said.
To avoid this problem in the future, she believes that Juneteenth should be fully funded from the start. Freeman says they’re looking for about $1,000 out of a $40 million annual budget.
“The focus and support of the entire city council for ICARE has waned,” she said.
Freeman said their typical June 16 celebration includes a day for children and another day with games and tents. One of the other Juneteenth events sponsored by ‘ERASE’ in Irondequoit will take place on June 19e At the mayor.
Freeman is also suing the city for racial discrimination for past cases.
“Juneteenth” dates back to 1865, when slaves were first told of the end of slavery in Gavelston, Texas. It was declared a federal holiday last year by President Joe Biden.