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Organizers in Oneonta to make Black culture more accessible at Juneteenth celebration

oneonta juneteenth planning committee
The Oneonta Juneteenth planning committee (right to left: Akil Croston, Essence Delmonte, Sierra Sangetti-Daniels, Antia Hopson, and Diandra Sangetti-Daniels) in field #5 of Neahwa Park in Oneonta. The Juneteenth celebration will take place at the field on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (picture provided)

People in Oneonta will gather for the 3rd annual Juneteenth celebration this weekend. The holiday celebrates the day people enslaved in Texas learned they were free.

"It finally gives me my chance to say 'I'm Black,'" Sierra Sangetti-Daniels, co-organizer of the event, added. "I know everyone else sees me as Black, but telling myself I'm Black, I'm a part of this ancestry that comes from amazing Black legacies."

Sangetti-Daniels and her sister grew up in a predominantly white area in Oneonta. To fit in, they would do things like straighten their hair.

"Growing up in Oneonta as a biracial child in a predominantly white area, there wasn't too much Black representation," said Diandra Sangetti-Daniels, Sierra's sister and the event's lead organizer. She had to look outside her town to educate herself on Black culture. "As I found my journey towards my Blackness, I was able to share that with my community."

The sisters said Juneteenth is their way to show appreciation for Black culture, and allows them to learn along with the community.

It was important to them to keep the event completely free. The goal was to make this celebration of Black joy more accessible.

"Anything from t-shirts, to face painting, bounce houses, food, everything will be totally free," Sierra said.

They are also proud to offer services exclusively from Black vendors and artists, and pay them. Funding for the event comes from the Community Foundation of Otsego County, a grant from the First United Methodist Church Patrick and the Community Arts Network of Oneonta.

The Juneteenth celebration is from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Neahwa Park. The day starts at 10 a.m. with a free yoga session led by a Black instructor, and fresh pressed juices.