Juneteenth Celebrations Take Place Across America During Its First Year As A Federal Holiday
The folks are very much outside.
June 19, 2021 at 8:42 pm
After President Joe Biden signed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday on Thursday, offices and businesses closed their doors on Friday while communities around the country continued to commemorate the occasion as they have for many years.
Juneteenth officially took place on Saturday. Here are some of the celebrations that have been taking place during the weekend.
Washington National Cathedral is lit
In the nation's capital, the Washington National Cathedral is being lit nightly from June 15-19 to recognize the celebration of Juneteenth, NBC Washington reported. The cathedral expressed said the celebration aims “to recall an important milestone in the journey to freedom, justice and liberty for all.”
The building was also lit up in orange earlier this month in honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. In addition, the Cathedral was lit in rainbow hues from June 6-8 to commemorate Pride.
Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last.— Washington National Cathedral (@WNCathedral) June 19, 2021
As our nation celebrates our newest holiday, @WNCathedral will be lit in honor of #Juneteenth through Saturday. Happy Freedom Day! pic.twitter.com/UiHX2J0tOZ
"Finally, we light the west front in celebration and in honor of Juneteenth on June 15-19," said Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr. "It was on June 19, 1865 that Union soldiers made it to Galveston, Texas, with news that the enslaved were now free and the doors to opportunity were opened. Juneteenth is also called Freedom Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day. The lights will remind us that making those freedom words real does not benefit some, it is a benefit to all."
D.C. Community Groups celebrates reopening of wellness center
Also in Washington D.C., a group named ONE DC is honoring the holiday while celebrating the reopening of their Black Workers and Wellness Center, a community-run space used to organize for racial and economic justice.
ONE DC's Saturday celebration includes tours of the organization's building, live music from local artists, food vendors and community outreach booths, according to NBC Washington.
"This is a time for us to reflect on our collective history of fighting for emancipation and equity, to celebrate and be joyful about our triumphs, and to recommit with passion and discipline to the current struggle for liberation," the group said in a statement.
Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman leads 'Juneteenth in Queens'
The event started this week with a virtual panel series. It continued on the weekend in Roy Wilkins Park in Queens. Attendees can enjoy activities such as yoga for Black liberation, a Black art party and African dance class, The New York Post reported.
“When it comes to systemic racism in classes across the country, we do not acknowledge slavery and the lasting effects,” Hyndman said last year according to Queens Daily Eagle. “This is American history and we have to acknowledge it.”
In the spirit of collaboration, we are grateful to all community who have come in unity to make this celebration of liberation real!— Juneteenth In Queens (@JuneteenthQ) May 24, 2021
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Boston event illustrates the history of slavery and Black worship
One of the events, Jubilee on Juneteenth, will provide an opportunity to learn about slavery and about the history of Black worship, NBC Boston reported. The Museum of Fine Arts partnered with New Roots AME Church to organize a 30-minute outdoor interactive exhibit which shows how enslaved Black people “subverted dominant practices of worship to connect with God, community, and nature.”
Freedom Fête celebrates Black music
Freedom Fête, another Boston event, is providing a virtual dance party which features music that illustrates the contributions of the African Diaspora. The event is organized by the Institute Of Contemporary Art.
"Join us for Freedom Fête: A Virtual Juneteenth Celebration. A virtual dance party exploring how much musical innovation is an ingrained part of the Black legacy," organizers said. "Genres innovated by Black musicians include gospel, jazz, blues, salsa, R&B, rock and roll, soul, funk, house, techno, hip-hop, and so much more."
The four DJs who will lead the event plan to donate their tips to the National Bailout Fund and Boston's Ujima Project, a group tackling issues such as gentrification, poverty, homelessness, lack of food access, unemployment and lack of healthcare.
Join us for Freedom Fête: A Virtual #Juneteenth Celebration. All proceeds go to Boston Ujima Project, For the Gworls, and Activation Residency–three grassroots organizations empowering Brown and Black womxn and trans people in Boston, New York, and beyond. https://t.co/t8MwAYvehi— The Record Co. (@therecordcoTRC) June 18, 2021
Los Angeles event provides fun and resources
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell held a Juneteenth celebration which featured musical entertainment, food trucks, COVID-19 vaccinations and workshops on record expungement, as well as tenant protections and immigration services, Los Angeles Daily News reported. The event was held on Friday at Earvin Magic Johnson Park in Los Angeles.
"This is a free community event honoring the history of Juneteenth by providing community resources and services," Mitchell said.
Free event at Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland
Happy Juneteenth, y'all.