On June 18 Granby will celebrate its inaugural Granby Celebrates Juneteenth event in Salmon Brook Park. Sponsored by Granby Racial Reconciliation (GRR), it promises to be a fun day of music, dance, food, and entertainment for the entire family.
In January, the GRR Steering Committee asked for submissions from Granby students of all ages for a visual representation of the event—a Juneteenth logo. The goal of the logo contest, as well as an upcoming “Creative Expression” activity (details in next issue), is to meaningfully engage Granby’s youth in the Juneteenth event.
Two Granby Memorial High School students created the winning logo and the runner-up logo. Senior Emma Hansen and junior Taylor Matheos were selected for first and second place, respectively. One of the four local judges, professional graphic designer John Stevenson, who helped create the GRR logo, told Emma and Taylor, “Logos are not an easy thing to design. You’re trying to communicate an awful lot—and make a big impression—with minimal design elements. I think each of you came through with designs that do communicate what you wanted to say about Juneteenth.”
The winning logo was created by GMHS senior Emma Hansen who will receive $75, as well as the honor of seeing her image on all Granby Celebrates Juneteenth marketing materials.
Emma, who plans to pursue a graphic design degree, explained, “I chose yellow, green and red—to symbolize the Ethiopian flag, which represents the Pan African ideology. I placed the Black female in front to show her pride of her culture.” She added that the abstract shapes behind her make the figure visually “pop,” as well as communicate empowerment.
Emma said that she was motivated because she wants to “be a part of something that has the opportunity to unite a community. The Juneteenth event has the capability to do just that—and it is so special that Granby gets to celebrate it.”
Taylor Matheos, a GMHS junior, created the logo chosen as the runner up. Taylor won an award of $25, as well as the gratitude of GRR for taking the time and the care to create this wonderful logo.
Taylor explained, “What I wanted to do with this logo was to incorporate images that symbolize Black liberation and empowerment, such as the iconic raised fists, which are breaking apart the chains to commemorate the end of slavery.” Taylor said, “As a high school student, it can be difficult to make an impact on the community.” She added, “As I saw it, illustrating a logo was the best way to promote a message that I believe in and to uplift our community.”
Taylor said she’s “optimistic” about what the Granby Celebrates Juneteenth event means for our community. “In just a few years, we’ve made progress in acknowledging and combating racial inequality. The conversation surrounding Juneteenth is sometimes considered uncomfortable because it requires a discussion of the past struggles of Black Americans, which in turn requires recognition of how those struggles impact them today. The Juneteenth event, and GRR’s efforts at large, show that Granby is continually making strides.”
Community member and contest judge Paula Lohr added, “It is really refreshing to see that there are young people out there who are looking to further initiatives such as Juneteenth and beyond.”
Debbie Reelitz, a local artist and a judge for this logo contest, writes, “Both designs were strong concepts. Clean. Bold. Celebratory in totally different ways. As a white person, I did not feel I was the appropriate person to decide which design was more meaningful. On one hand, our society so desperately needs to talk about slavery and its continuing impacts on society today, which is why I was drawn to the design with the broken chain and appreciated the reference to the end of slavery. That, of course, is what Juneteenth is about. And for the red, yellow, and green design, I appreciated the celebration of African culture and the roots of America’s black community.”
Ken Mouning, a member of the GRR Steering Committee and organizer of Granby Celebrates Juneteenth said, “We are so pleased with the thought and energy that Emma and Taylor put into their logo designs. In fact, watch social media and future Drummer articles; each of them has volunteered to help produce ads for our marketing campaign.”
The Juneteenth event will take place from 3 to 8:30 p.m. on June 18 at Salmon Brook Park. The day will include several musical performances, poetry, dance, speakers, food vendors, and activities for all ages. More details will follow in future Drummer articles.