Today marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, which commemorates the freeing of enslaved people in Texas. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas in order to enforce the new amendment, the Emancipation Proclamation. While the Emancipation Proclamation had already been signed and in effect for a year and a half, it had very little effect on Texas and other Confederate states due to the fact that there weren’t many Union soldiers there to enforce it. People also tried to suppress the news of the Confederate loss and never informed the people that they enslaved that they had been freed.
After being freed, many formerly enslaved people celebrated their freedom with song, dance, prayers, and food. The following year in 1866 was the first official Juneteenth celebration. Juneteenth is seen as a day in order to celebrate the strength and resilience of Black people’s ancestors. Today, celebrations often include religious services, picnics, prayer, music, food, dancing, and educational events.
This holiday remembers the day in which people who were enslaved found out that they were free and were freed from slavery. Juneteenth became a holiday in the state of Texas in 1980 and is now recognized as a holiday in 47 states. Recently, there has been a push to make Juneteenth a national holiday in the United States. You can sign a petition in support of the idea here.
How can you celebrate Juneteenth this year? Don’t let a pandemic stop you from celebrating, because we found 10 different virtual events where you can celebrate along with other people while keeping safe during the age of COVID-19. All times are in the EST timezone.
- Juneteenth: Creating Legacy in Contested Places will be held at 2 pm by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. There will be a blend of music, food, and discussions.
- Freedom: A Juneteenth Experience is an event that will happen between 4:30-9:30 pm, and you can get tickets by donating to the Anti-Police Terror Project. The event will focus on Black businesses, Black art, and Black healing.
- Juneteenth: A Celebration Of Resilience is being held by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will be brought to you virtually, with no registration and completely free. They will bring the history of Juneteenth to you through photographs, recipes, presentations, and storytelling.
- Juneteenth Virtual Music Festival, which normally takes place in Colorado, will have a virtual music festival that you can stream on their website along with their festival that they streamed yesterday. The festival will include musical performances, comedy, dance, and more.
- Freedom on Juneteenth will be held at 7 pm, hosted by the Karamu House. The event is a theatrical production and artistic response to the recent murders of Black Americans. The production will have music, dance, and spoken word.
- Juneteeth #AllyBoston will be held at 7 pm by AfrimericanOne. The event will focus on the Boston area and have culture along with discussions on how to be a better ally.
- Juneteenth: In the Name of Freedom is an event that will be hosted by Ethel’s Club, a social and wellness club designed to celebrate people of color, at 6 pm. There will be poetry, meditation, and presentations.
- Juneteenth Live! is an event happening at 6 pm via TheGrio’s Facebook page hosted by Dana Blair, Marc Lamont Hill, and Dr. Christina Greer. There will be celebrities, activists, and others on the stream. There will be performances, discussions, and appearances. Senator Kamala Harris, Sterling K. Brown, Stacey Abrams, among others are slated to appear.
- Liberation and Celebration is an event held by HealHaus based in Brooklyn. They are hosting a donation-based mediation. The donations will go to Guud Soup, an organization that supports mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
- Susan G. Komen Juneteenth Celebration will be held from 5-6 pm and is hosted by the LA branch of the Susan G. Komen foundation. It will focus on discussions about healthcare inequality in the Black community.
Header image via Pixabay / wynpnt
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Diana Holiner is currently a student at Emerson College where she is majoring in Visual Media Arts Production. She lives in Dover, Massachusetts and enjoys hanging out with her dog and watching television.