Midway declares Juneteenth an official holiday, other cities to host events

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MIDWAY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A small Kentucky city has decided to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Several other cities are planning events to commemorate the annual holiday held on June 19, to celebrate end of slavery in the U.S.

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift signed an executive order Wednesday that recognizes the day, closes city hall and allows paid time off for city employees.

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In a Facebook post, Mayor Vandegrift said in part, “I’m proud to have signed an executive order today establishing June 19, or Juneteenth, as a permanent holiday in the City of Midway.”

Vandegrift said City Hall will be closed and all city employees will have a paid holiday in observance.

The post went on to say, “If we don’t understand the awful legacy of slavery and oppression, we can’t understand it’s lingering effect.”

Source: Midway Mayor/Facebook

The City of Winchester is also holding a march called “Together for Justice”. The public is encouraged to gather at the Clark County Courthouse beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, June 19. The march will begin no later than 5:30 p.m. and will conclude at Heritage Park for the Winchester Black History & Heritage Committee Juneteenth Celebration at 6 p.m.

City officials say it is a family-friendly event and the march will be silent. Those planning to attend are reminded to respect social distancing and face mask guidelines.

Source: Better Together Winchester/Facebook

Meanwhile, the City of Somerset is partnering with community youth and local leaders to host a Juneteenth charette from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 19.

City officials say the event will feature speakers, music and poetry, and will help shine a light on the experiences of the black community in Somerset.

Source: City of Somerset/Facebook
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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!