Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last year commemorating June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.
It doesn’t matter what you call it: Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day or Juneteenth, as it is most popularly known. June 19th —the day that marks the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans— is a date to rejoice.
But there are also many virtual ways to commemorate that day in 1865 when a Union general announced in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved men and women in the state were finally free from the long scourge of slavery.
To commemorate the occasion, on June 15 Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee introduced a resolution to recognize the historical significance of Juneteenth. She also plans to introduce a bill to make it a federal holiday.
Here in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last year commemorating June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.” He’s encouraging Pennsylvanians to reflect on the importance of the state holiday and the continued need for a fair and just society.
“In recent weeks, people around the nation have joined together to demand an end to systemic racism and oppression of African Americans,” said Gov. Wolf. “Freedom for all is not fully realized until every person is truly free. This Juneteenth we have an opportunity to unite against injustice and create lasting change that will make Pennsylvania and our nation a better place for everyone.”
Since we know so many of you are still social distancing, here’s your virtual Juneteenth guide to enjoy with the whole family.
Juneteenth Music Festival
Billed as “The World’s First Virtual Global Freedom Festival,” the Juneteenth Music Festival is an online destination featuring celebrations around the world. The event showcases African American art, history, education and music.
The virtual festival starts Thursday, June 18.
Juneteenth Community Day Celebration
Learn about rich African American traditions and culture through art, storytelling, music, and dance during your virtual visit to The Amistad Center for Arts and Culture in Connecticut. Hear artist Kesha Bruce talk about her creative process and take her collage-based craft; watch duo Abubakar & Babafemi perform; and enjoy an African dance performance by Friendz World Music.
Juneteenth 2020: Stay Black and Live
A collaboration with several Black organizations in Austin’s historic East side, this year’s Carver Museum and Cultural Center’sJuneteenth celebration emphasizes the themes of freedom and perseverance by the Afro American community, while recognizing the unprecedented times we’re living through. The program, which includes music, spoken word and raffle prizes, will be streaming across social media platforms.
Juneteenth “Shop Black” Virtual Experience
Memphis businesswoman Cynthia Daniels has launched a website to connect shoppers with black-owned businesses featuring a wide array of products, from clothing and skin care to food and more. About 100 Black-owned businesses will be featured during the event to be held on June 19. The virtual shopping experience will run from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. CST.
To participate in this unique shopping experience that supports Black-owned businesses, RSVP here.
Juneteenth + Barbecue Virtual Tour
Here’s a tasty way to celebrate! Discover what African American communities were like post-Emancipation during a live Juneteenth virtual tour. Order the Treat Box, which ships free in the continental U.S. and enjoy treats from local African American entrepreneurs like the original AubSauce, two of Miss D’s Pralines, and a strawberry lemonade recipe.
Tours will be held Friday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. EST and are appropriate for children age 10+.