In the midst of weeks of civil rights marches across the nation and calls to defund the police after multiple high-profile cases of police brutality against Black Americans in recent weeks, attention to the holiday of Juneteenth has perhaps never been greater.
This year, companies like Google, Nike, Target and Quicken Loans have announced the day will be a paid holiday for employees.
Juneteenth, celebrated every year on June 19, is the commemoration of the day in 1865 that the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in the last-remaining state fighting the civil war, Texas. After more than 150 years since Black Americans began celebrating this day of freedom, the holiday may finally be getting the attention it deserves.
“We cannot truly celebrate without educating people about Juneteenth.” — Charity Dean, City of Detroit
A week-long celebration is currently underway in the city of Detroit, with a series of virtual educational events scheduled every evening leading up to a Freedom Rally downtown this Friday morning. More events can be found happening throughout the region as well.
Charity Dean, Detroit’s Director of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity, says ”we cannot truly celebrate without educating people about Juneteenth. It’s unfortunate that you can go through the school system and not learn about Juneteenth, it’s not necessarily written in all of the history books.”
“For such an important day for Black people in America, we want to make sure we’re educating [people],” Dean says.
Virtual events on health, education, growing economies for Black neighborhoods and businesses, and the creation of a mural celebrating where Martin Luther King Jr. began the Walk to Freedom on Woodward Ave/ in Detroit in 1963 are part of the city’s weeklong Juneteenth celebration.