Roseland celebrates Juneteenth and RISE!

Published 11:56 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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“This is Beautiful!” “I’ve never seen anything like it on the Eastside!” “We have to do this again!” These were among the joyous expressions echoed by many as over 300 people converged on the grounds of Roseland Community Center on Saturday, June 15 for a community celebration of Juneteenth and the launch of a new generation of RISE!, Roseland’s longstanding summer program for youth.

 People from Polk, Rutherford, Henderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg counties joined Eastside residents for the celebration. Well wishes came via Facetime from Eastsiders now residing in far away cities such as Cleveland and Las Vegas. 

There was music, dancing, storytelling, a cakewalk, singing, loads of games and activities for all ages, water slides, bounce houses, vendors, and food trucks, but mostly there were the sounds of family and friends engaged in fun and fellowship. 

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The historical exhibits of the Eastside on display were a particular hit. Parents with grown children viewed “RISE! Through the Years”, books of photographs from when they were children in the summer program. Other exhibits were of the Eastside churches, the Edmund Embury School, and charters of many Eastside organizations, one dating back to the 1920s, and handmade quilts, among others. 

Organizers were enthusiastic about the success of the afternoon. “My heart was so full,” said Rev. Eleanor Miller, Roseland’s Treasurer. Dr. Joseph Fox, Roseland’s Vice-President, noted that the attendance was far more than anticipated. “What a day” he said. “We were over budget, but more to the point, we were overjoyed.” 

RISE! continues through July 5. The Juneteenth celebration and RISE! were made possible as a free event by major funding from the Mary F. Kessler Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation, Eastside churches, and other individuals.


Submitted by Dr. Warren J. Carson