It has been 21 years since the Black Cultural Council of Odessa started organizing a local event to coincide with Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865, the day the slow-moving news of the Confederacy’s surrender two months earlier finally reached Texas, emancipating slaves in the state.

We are already deep into the weekend of events but, don’t worry, you still have time to celebrate with a number of free events both today and Tuesday.

Shoot, the Sewell Gospel Celebration at Blackshear Auditorium (3:30 to 6 pm. today) will be a feast for the ears.

From basketball tourneys to kid events to all kinds of music – this celebration is one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in Texas.

The success of this is a testament to the hard work of committee members and those with the BCC.

The wonderful atmosphere and sense of community that comes out of these types of events are amazing for how they bring all of us together.

Juneteenth festivities have helped make a home out of West Texas for the black community in the area, too, said Danny Wright, the longtime area Boys and Girls Club coordinator and ECISD educator.

“What it brings is a restoration of history and a celebration of a group of people,” Wright said. “If there’s a guy who, let’s say he’s a freshman at UTPB or Odessa College … and he’s been around the city … you very seldom see any African Americans. If he messes around and comes to Juneteenth: ‘Wait a minute man, did I go to sleep and wake up in a different city? What is going on here?’”

“But I think that’s a good thing,” Wright said.

We couldn’t agree more. We thank all of those who give of their time to make this huge undertaking a success. We also urge all Odessans to attend an event or two and enjoy the fellowship and the celebration.

What’s still to come:

Today: 1 p.m., Age 35 & Older Legends Basketball Tournament at the Woodson Boys & Girls Club, 1037 E. Murphy St.; 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sewell Gospel Celebration at Blackshear Auditorium; 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Clean Comedy Clinic, Inc. presents Sister Cantaloupe at Blackshear Auditorium; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., “Blues” by DJ Blue Boy and DJ B. Reed at the Main Stage; 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., performances by local rappers at the Main Stage; Youth Dance (south end of park).

Tuesday: 9 a.m. to noon, Youth in the Park (games) at the North Pavilion; noon to 1:30 p.m., Annual Juneteenth Picnic (bring lawn chairs); noon to 4 p.m., Health Fair at the Main Stage; 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Shout Cheerleading at the Main Stage; 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., performance by Mark Lyon’s True to Soul Band at the Main Stage.

For more information, call 305-0369 or visit