The Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance, in partnership with the City of Detroit and other organizations, is hosting a Juneteenth Freedom Fest Sunday at Eastern Market. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the last African American slaves were freed in the United States.
The festivities will include poetry readings, food and a shopping area called Black Bottom Row where people will be able to buy goods from local Black-owned small businesses. The event will also feature musical performances by the hip-hop group Slum Village, singer-songwriter Charity and gospel artist John Houston.
Erica Hill, the deputy director for the City of Detroit’s Office of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity, says Juneteenth marks a milestone from more than 150 years ago, but there’s still work to be done today.
“We are in the middle of all types of civil unrest, racism,” Hill says. “We went from George Floyd, now we’re at shootings in schools again.”
Hill says Juneteenth should serve as a reminder that everyone should have the opportunity to go to school or shop in a grocery store and come out alive, regardless of what they look like.
The city began celebrating the historic date in 2019 and it became a federal holiday last year.
The Freedom Fest is one of several Juneteenth events scheduled in metro Detroit throughout the weekend.
Listen: Erica Hill on why it’s important to celebrate Juneteenth today.
Correction appended 7:06 p.m. June 19, 2022: The original version of this story has been updated to show that the main organizer of this event is the Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance.