LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The second annual Juneteenth Festival kicked off in Lake Charles on June 13 and ends with a Fireworks Spectacular at Lake Charles Civic Center Friday night.
The holiday commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in the United States.
The Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services is sponsoring seven days of health awareness and education events, a family festival, and the black excellence awards dinner and fireworks show.
Some of the physical gatherings this year will be replaced with virtual events to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. For any physical gatherings, masks and social distancing are suggested.
Friday will feature a Drive-In Movie showing at the SWLA Lake Charles Site of Disney’s “The Princess & the Frog.” The drive-in is $20 per vehicle and space is limited. Tickets are on sale HERE. Gates will open at 7 p.m. with the movie starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Juneteenth Festival will conclude with a Fireworks Spectacular at the Lake Charles Civic Center at nightfall beginning around 8:30-8:45 p.m.
You can find more information on the Festival and tickets on their website HERE.
The festival starts tomorrow with a Community Day of Service at the SWLA Center for Health Service’s Prater Street Community Garden at 9 a.m. There, Master Gardeners Blaine Celestine and Golden Tradewell will be educating participants on gardening techniques as they relate to healthy eating.
Impact Agency volunteers will be handing out 75 plants to community members on a first-come, first serviced drive-thru beginning at 11 a.m. Anyone who wants a plant will need to ender at the Opelousas St. entrance and exit at Prater St. where volunteers will be distributing the plants.
Sunday will feature a 9 a.m. virtual Unity Church Service and a special Juneteenth message delivered by Pastor Braylon Harris of Mount Olive Baptist Church and Pastor Al Gatlin of Gethsemane Church of God in Christ.
There will be a COVID-19 drive-through testing site at both Mount Olive and Gethsemane from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Monday will feature the “Healthy North Lake Charles Initiative” at 12 p.m. starting with a 90-day health challenge that will be a combination of action and advocacy. Three groups of individuals will focus on either diabetes, hypertension, or obesity and will tackle the challenges of A1C levels, lowering blood pressure and the reduction of BMIs. This will include group workouts, educational classes, and cooking demos.
Tuesday and Wednesday will feature “Black Women’s Health Day” and “Black Men’s Health Day” respectively from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both events will take place at the SWLA Center for Health Services. The theme of this year will be “African Americans Taking Charge of Our Health” and centers on diabetes education. There will be information on feet, eyes, and nutrition as they relate to diabetes. The event is open to the public but seats are limited and registration for the event is required.
Friday will feature a virtual radio broadcasted town all that will discuss the topic of “African Americans Taking Charge of Our Health.” There will be an open conversation about topics affecting the community including overexposure to COVID-19, diabetes and hypertension, healthy food options, and lack of access to quality healthcare. The broadcast will be on KZWA 104.9 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Part of the discussion will feature insights, resources, and strategies with a panel that includes:
- Director of Public Health for Detroit Denise Fair,
- Director of Black Catholic Studies for Xavier University Dr. Kathleen Bellow,
- Pastor and School Board Member Rev. Dr. Desmond Wallace
- New Orleans-based Community Medicine and Health Educator Dr. Eric Griggs
- CEO of SWLA Center for Health Services Ms. JayVon Muhammad
HIV testing will also be taking place at the SWLA Center for Health Services on 2000 Opelousas St. that day from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.