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AKRON — Community leaders and organizers are upset after the city of Akron canceled 11 events throughout the weekend, including Juneteenth festivals.

READ MORE: City of Akron cancels all large public events for upcoming weekend due to safety concerns

Fela Sutton is organizing the annual Akron Juneteenth celebration; she says she found out the event was canceled while shopping for last-minute decorations yesterday afternoon.

“I get a call telling me that we’re not having the event after everything had been paid for at the end of the business day on Friday. I am distraught, and I am standing in an empty field that is usually filled with 300 people this day,” said Sutton.

Akron Mayor Shammas Malik announced last night that all events on the city-owned property were canceled throughout the weekend, including all Juneteenth celebrations. The decision came after eight out of 13 Akron City Council members sent the mayor a letter where they expressed concerns about Juneteenth events on city property following the mass shooting on June 2.

In the letter, they stated, “We believe to allow city-sanctioned gatherings so soon after this tragedy is irresponsible.”

In a statement from today, city council wanted to make it clear they asked the mayor to only cancel Juneteenth events due to the unfairness of the police staff ratio for the different events over the weekend. However, organizers said they made sure all Juneteenth events were going to be properly secured.

“I don’t blame the mayor for this; he made every preparation to make every single one of these events safe. His hand was forced. You face these problems that we have in our city by coming together and we’ve been prevented from coming together this year,” said Sutton.

Sutton and Matthew Talley say they spent four months organizing what would’ve been the 26th year of Akron’s Juneteenth celebration.

“They had weeks to express their concerns, but they waited until after he committed safety forces, and before there’s a chance to react or respond by us or any of the vendors,” said Talley.

Over 20 vendors were expected to be at the Juneteenth celebration. Maya Mendoza, owner of My Joy Cookie Co. Mendoza, says she was baking over 200 cookies for the event when she got a text that it was canceled.

“If the council members were concerned about it, I just wish they would have said something a day or two sooner, not within 12 hours of us getting ready to set up,” said Mendoza.

However, Mendoza did not let her baked goods go to waste; she set up a cookie stand in downtown Akron.

“I sold out, I posted on social media and let people know that I changed my location, and everybody came out and supported it, I think they just wanted to help out after the cancellation,” said Mendoza.

Councilman Eric D. Garrett, Sr. released a statement saying he expresses deep regret and disappointment in the cancellation of the Juneteenth festivals. In the letter, he states, “This decision was made in response to concerns that have since been determined to lack credible evidence of any imminent threat.

He adds that they plan to work with local authorities, event organizers and community leaders to ensure that future Juneteenth celebrations are safeguarded while preserving their significance and integrity.

“There was no reason to believe anything was going to happen; there’s no reason to think that people were going to come in and supersede the police, said Talley.

Sutton says she is working to refund vendors and will attempt to still host the event in the near future.