Juneteenth (June 19) marks the day when the last enslaved people of the U.S. were told of their freedom — nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted.
It offers a time to remember the history that Black Americans endured, honor and center Black culture and achievements, and fight for justice and against systematic inequalities that still exist today. It is now an official holiday in New York State, and a bill has been approved by the Senate to make it a national holiday as well.You can learn more about its history here.
The city is putting on its own Juneteenth celebration on Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m. at St. Nicholas Park in Harlem/Manhattanville. It will be a block party featuring free music, food, performances and more. They have also created a Juneteenth hub that makes other holiday events searchable and also a search-engine for finding Black-owned businesses in NYC.
Find more info at NYC.Gov/Juneteenth.
The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens will be screening three groundbreaking films on Saturday, including Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, Channing Godfrey Peoples’s Miss Juneteenth, and Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Before Miss Juneteenth is presented, a selection of short works by local students relating to Black history in Queens will be shared. Find more info here.
Also in Long Island City, there will be a community BBQ produced by non-profit Community Capacity Development headlined by DJ Enuff.
This Juneteenth Jubilee event is taking place on June 19 from 1-7 p.m. in The Africa Center Plaza in East Harlem. Put together by the grassroots arts organization Intersectional Voices Collective (IVC), in partnership with Hi-Arts and The Africa Center, the event will serve as a second iteration of last year’s combination Black Lives Matter demonstration and Pride party. Featuring a lineup of Black trans and queer bands, singers, dancers, rappers, and spoken word artists, it will culminate in a “Rose Court” ceremony honoring Black women leaders in the community.Find out more here.
In Brooklyn’s creative hub Industry City, Black women-owned design label ASHYA will be hosting a Juneteenth celebration in their on-campus shop along with Maker’s Mark, on Saturday, June 19 from 12-6 p.m. Enjoy drinks plus a monogramming station so you can get their beautiful leather travel accessories personalized.
Also in Industry City, on the lawn of the Courtyard 5/6, there will be a five-part film series screened about Black liberation, from Equator Productions. Catch the short films from 9-10 p.m., or anytime throughout the rest of the month.Find more info on both events here.
The Brooklyn Museum is holding a day-long event on Saturday to “commemorate the end of legal slavery in the U.S. and support the ongoing movement for Black lives and liberation,” beginning with a “Freedom Ride” with the Good Company Bike Club at 11 a.m. They will be touring historic Brooklyn sites pertaining to the Black community, along with stops at local Black-owned businesses.
Then, in the evening at 7 p.m., head back to the Brooklyn Museum Plaza for live music, food provided by the Black Chef Movement and mindfulness at sunset with Meditating for Black Lives. Everything is free and takes place outdoors — if you do want to visit the galleries, you must register in advance.Find out more here.
From 11 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday, the African Burial Ground in The Bronx’s Van Cordtlandt Park will be consecrated, in gratitude for the sacrifice of the African Ancestors who built what is now VCP. This includes a Libation Ceremony by Chief Baba Neil Clarke, Live Music by Bronx Arts Ensemble, Remarks by Artist and Historian Kamau Ware, and a Benediction by Rev. Dr. Hermon L. Darden.
The New York Botanical Garden will be celebrating Juneteenth with a conversation between food historian Michael Twitty and Chef JJ Johnson. These experts will discuss the history and present-day importance of rice, a central African American contribution to American food, and of course speaking about Juneteenth food traditions.
Sign up here; it takes place on Friday, June 18th at 11 a.m.
NYC’s favorite “Drunk History”comedy show gets a Juneteenth twist on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., thanks to comedians Brandon Collins and Gordon Baker-Bone, who promise to finally give “prominent Black historical figures their due through drunken anecdotes from booked guests.” Featuring Brittany Carney (Comedy Central), Marie Faustin (BET), The Lucas Brothers (Oscar nominees) and Michelle Buteau. See more here.
As part of the Friends of Brower Park’s free Juneteenth celebration at Brower Park, renowned poet, journalist, and civil and human rights activist Powell will perform an original poetry suite alongside music composed, arranged, conducted and performed by the Soulfolk Experience. The park is located at Brooklyn Ave & Prospect Pl. in Crown Heights, and the event will take place 11 a.m.-5 p.m.Find out more here.
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