A year after we transformed the Juneteenth festivities from a parade and block party to a virtual festival, this year’s theme reflects on Black people’s initiative and willpower to free themselves because no one else will do it for us, and how it is through our collective strength that we have made our mark wherever we go.
The day long celebration kicks off with a car parade hosted by the Austin Area Urban League and GEAYA. During lunchtime, the 10,000 Fearless first responders will join the committee in distributing free plates to the communities most in need on the East side.
Six Square and CarverMuseumATX’s virtual program will start with a panel discussion about the history and celebration of Juneteenth with speakers Dr. Lisa B. Thompson and Dr. Charles Daniel Carson of UT Austin’s African and African Studies department and moderated by Carre Adams, Manager of the Carver Museum.
Our MC NOOK will introduce Freedom Desk, a music and spoken word performance series that will feature artists from the Austin/Travis County area. The lineup includes: Riders Against the Storm, Eimaral Sol, Melat, Chakeeta B, and more!
We’ll also have a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. Proceeds will benefit Six Square as they continue to tirelessly serve the African-American community in Austin.
During the evening we’ll keep the party going at Rosewood Park with a live afterparty hosted by Jump On It and GEAYA. The night will end with a fireworks show by Austin Justice Coalition.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of formal slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and more than one month following the end of the American Civil War. Colloquially known as “The Black 4th of July,” Juneteenth marks the beginning of an African American journey to carve a new place in society for free people to shape identities independent of racial caricature, eradicate “slave culture, promote ethnic pride, and create economic prosperity. The Juneteenth Festival is not only a celebration of emancipation and commemoration of a distinctive past, but an opportunity for future generations to learn about our history.
My people have a country of their own to go to if they choose… Africa… but, this America belongs to them just as much as it does to any of the white race… in some ways even more so, because they gave the sweat of their brow and their blood in slavery so that many parts of America could become prosperous and recognized in the world.”
— Josephine Baker, African-American entertainer and activist