This year, Juneteenth is getting worldwide recognition as a holiday.
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery, and even though it is not a national holiday, it is a holiday in many U.S. states including here in Louisiana. In the 90's, New Orleans Christian Unity Baptist Church helped organize the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation and pushed to get the holiday more national attention.
In 2020, Louisiana is continuing to honor the holiday, with the Saints and Pelicans making Juneteenth a paid holiday.
Virginia recently deemed it a paid holiday, and many are hoping other states follow their lead. Businesses in Boston and Chicago are also making it a paid holiday, as well as big companies like Target and Nike. There are many people in Louisiana trying to bring awareness of the holiday and celebrate it in this important time of fighting for equality and justice.
Black Out LSU and the chapter of 100 Black Men are hosting a cookout to celebrate Juneteenth on Alaska St. Park from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They will be meeting guests at Free Speech Alley on campus at 10:30 a.m. to march to Alaska St. Park.
With the pandemic still being a factor, masks are required and social distancing is advised. Food will be distributed in passing, with the first 200 people being guaranteed plates of food.
The Baton Rouge African American Museum, Community Against Drugs and Violence and State Representative C. Denise Marcelle have an Inaugural "Social Distance" Juneteenth Caravan gathering on June 20 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in solidarity to celebrate Juneteenth. Information and tickets for the event can be found here.
Lake Charles planned a week of activities, including educational health events on June 16 and June 17 at the SWLA Center for Health Services for the Juneteenth Freedom Festival. On June 18, there will be a broadcast on KZWA 104.9 starting at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Black health. The SWLA Lake Charles Site will showcase a drive-in movie and fireworks show on Juneteenth. Click here for more information.
The Juneteenth Blackout March For Change and Festival will have its celebrations in Shreveport. The march is at 6:15 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium and the festival will start at 6:45 p.m. under the Texas St. bridge. The festival will feature various of Black vendors with their services and products for purchase. Click here for more information.
Lafayette will be hosting its annual SWLA Juneteenth Music Festival at the corner of Buick and Louisiana Avenue. Food will be available and guests are asked to wear masks for safety. More information on the festival can be found here.
Now it's as important as ever to recognize this holiday and what it means to the Black community. This year, take the time to learn more about the holiday and how you can further help the Black community get real equality today.