Juneteenth Flag is displayed at Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alas! We are outside just in time for Juneteenth. Celebrating the liberation of enslaved peoples in Texas via the Emancipation Proclamation, June 19 is an annual holiday — widely cherished within the Black community — normally celebrated through picnics, cookouts and block parties as a form of ancestral veneration. After a pandemic that halted last year’s events, a movement galvanized by systemic racism, and federal strides to formally recognize the holiday nationally, the resurgence in anticipation for this upcoming Juneteenth is brimming across social media.

The day, also known as Emancipation Day, recounts the day Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas  to share the news that the Civil War had ended and in accordance with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, all enslaved peoples were free — two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Texans began celebrating the date with community events, such as parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, and musical performances. Over time, as families native to the state emigrated to other parts of the United States, they carried Juneteenth celebrations with them and the cultural practice became embedded in African American lineage. Later on, it became a state holiday in Texas in 1979. Since then, 47 states have also recognized it, but only in Texas, New York, Virginia, and Washington is it on the way to becoming paid holiday for state employees.

And of course, we’d be remiss to not round-up some of the events taking place across the nation in honor of June 19. Here’s ways you can observe the holiday, honor the everlasting fight for freedom and stand in solidarity with the experiences of African enslaved people this weekend.

ATLANTA: JUneteenth Black history parade & music festival

In Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, the Juneteenth Black History Parade & Music Festival will begin its series of events from Friday, June 18 to Sunday, June 20. The event not only includes a parade and music, but also Black-owned business vendors, an educational forum and family activities to continue the traditions of economic, educational and community centered get-togethers.

For more information, visit their website.

NEW YORK: Juneteenth NYC Summit

Starting on Friday, June 18, the Juneteenth NY organization is hosting a three day summit to celebrate the vastness of Black history rather than solely focus on the plight of slavery. Register today to join the summit online or in-person (shoutout to the pandemic accommodations) to celebrate the community through empowerment, health and wellness, education and entertainment. 

CHiCago: The Dusable museum of african american history reopening

Illinois has officially declared Juneteenth a state holiday after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law today. If you’re in the state this weekend, there’s no better way to applaud the historic recognition than to head to the reopening of The DuSable Museum of African American History. The DuSable, named in honor of Chicago’s Haitian-born founder  Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, is the nation’s oldest independent African American museum as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Its Juneteenth grand reopening welcomes the public to honor the longest-running African-American holiday through the lens its diverse holdings that number more than 15,000 pieces and include paintings, sculpture, print works and historical memorabilia.

For more information, visit their website.

ORLANDO: Bronze kingdom museum

If you’ll be in Orlando this weekend, the Bronze Kingdom is offering discounted museum tours on Saturday along with food, vendors and live performances — just like the block parties of the noughties in honor of Emancipation Day. Home to over 2,000 pieces, Bronze Kingdom Museum is known for its educational, historical, creative and technological exhibitions that showcase that richly robust legacy of Africa.

For more information, visit their website.

And if you can’t make it to the host of events that’ll be happening across the nation, remember that it is always a great time to pay respect to the Black artists, creatives and entrepreneurs in your city.

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