While you may be gearing up to figure out how to celebrate Fourth of July this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there's another holiday coming up on June 19 that's also worth celebrating: Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.. And this year marks 155 years since Union General Gordon Granger marched to Texas and announced that enslaved people had been freed.
While many people can rightfully argue that slavery didn't exactly end there — with Jim Crow and mass incarceration creating different ways for Black people to continue to be denied basic human rights — Juneteenth is still seen as a major celebration in many households. While it is yet to be declared a national holiday, there's still plenty of celebrating to be done. And while the coronavirus pandemic is changing the way that we celebrate, there are still plenty of virtual Juneteenth celebrations that you can take part in this year.
With everything going on in regard to Justice for George Floyd protests and shared videos of police brutality circulating the internet, it's possible you may feel a little weird celebrating this year. But uplifting Black voices and communities is exactly what we need right now, and what better way to do that than by celebrating advancements made in Black history.
Here are 21 organizations and businesses that are hosting virtual Juneteenth celebrations.
1. The Amistad Center for Art & Culture
Hartford, Connecticut's Amistad Center for Art & Culture is hosting a a 2020 Juneteenth Virtual Gala. There will be live music, an online auction, and important discussions about the history of the center and the holiday.
2. University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas African-American Resource Group and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion are hosting their annual Juneteenth celebration virtually this year. They'll have a DJ, speakers, and "a few surprises." You can tune in to event on Juneteenth at 7 p.m. via Facebook Live.
3. Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is hosting a free, virtual night to celebrate Juneteenth. The celebration will include a speech by NAACP civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill about the history of the holiday, as well as current events, including George Floyd's death.
4. Austin's George Washington Carver Museum
Austin, Texas is hosting "Stay Black and Live: A Virtual Juneteenth Celebration" hosted by Austin’s George Washington Carver Museum, in collaboration with Six Square, Greater East Austin Youth Association, Jump On It and District 1 Councilmember Natasha Harper-Madison. The Parks and Recreation Department also said that 600 barbecue plates would be distributed to community members most impacted by COVID-19.
5. Black Heritage Trail Of New Hampshire
From June 18-20, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire group will host live and virtual Juneteenth events. These include a cooking demonstration, African drumming, a live concert, and a virtual community dialogue.
6. African American Museum Of Iowa
The Iowa City and Cedar Rapids were originally hosting an in-person Juneteenth event, but will now be hosting a virtual one thanks to the African American Museum of Iowa. The city mayor will be discussing the significance of the holiday, as well as how it relates to Black Lives Matter.
7. Juneteenth Music Festival Corporation
The Juneteenth Music Festival is hosted every year as a major event. This year, it'll be hosted online on June 18 and serve as a way for communities across the country to come together. There will be discussions on why Juneteenth should be a national holiday, virtual dance competitions, financial literacy segments, and musical performances. You can even submit a video of yourself discussing the importance of the holiday.
8. Johnson House
Johnson House is hosting the Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival via Zoom on June 20 this year. There will be historical reenactments, music, and advertisement opportunities for local vendors. The event is totally free to the public and available for anyone to join.
9. South Pearl Street Festival
Albany's South Pearl Street Festival for Juneteenth will be taking place virtually this year. The event will feature performances, vendors of color, and discussions about the history of the holiday. The hosts of the event encourages people of all communities to join and take part in the celebrations.
10. Black Humboldt & Eureka NAACP
The Black Humboldt, a group that promotes Black businesses, professionals, and organizations, is steaming up with the Eureka, California branch of the NAACP to host their own Juneteenth celebration. The celebration is being held via on June 19 at noon in efforts to uplift the small, but extremely important percentage of Black members of the Humboldt community.
11. Juneteenth Freedom And Heritage Festival
Utah is hosting a virtual multi-day festival to honor Juneteenth this year. From virtual business events to webinars on the history of the holiday and film discussions, Utah's celebration includes a variety of ways to honor and uplift the Black community. You can join in almost any day up until June 21 to take part in fun community events via Zoom.
12. Beyu Caffe
A local business in Durham, North Carolina is hosting a virtual block party for the celebration of Juneteenth. During this event, there will be music performances and speeches by local community leaders. People will have the chance to donate to both the performers and the Feed Durham Fund, which combats food insecurity.
13. Jim Austin Online
Jim Austin Online, an organization that helps Dallas and Forth Worth businesses grow and network, is hosting a Juneteenth Live Streaming Festival full of jazz and R&B artists. The live streaming concert can be viewed on YouTube for $10, which will go toward the United Way of Tarrant Country COVID-19 Fund, the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, and The Artist Outreach. The concert can also be viewed in person, where food and drinks will be served.
14. Cynthia Daniels & Co.
Cynthia Daniels, the chief event specialist at Cynthia Daniels & Co. is hosting a Juneteenth Shop Black event in honor of the holiday. People who take part will be given the chance to shop from 100 Black-owned businesses she approved of herself. From arts to clothing to decor and more, people will be able to celebrate Juneteenth by giving back to the Black community.
15. Telfair Museums
In Savannah, Telfair Museums has been hosting Juneteenth celebrations for more than a decade. This year, due to the coronavirus, those celebrations are going online. There will be a lecture hosted by the museum curators on the history of Juneteenth, as well as the Civil Rights movement.
16. The Academy Art Museum
The Academy Art Museum in Maryland is hosting a virtual Juneteenth celebration on both June 19 and 20 of this year. The museum will be using pre-recorded musical performances by local and national artists, artwork, children's crafts, and storytelling to help commemorate the holiday.
17. Black Youth Project 100
The Black Youth Project 100 is a national organization that encourages Black youth to vote, mobilize, organize, and get involved in their communities. This year, they'll be hosting a virtual Juneteenth celebration at 6 p.m., which is said to be a celebration of Black freedom and liberation. Though there aren't many details, the event flyer features the #FreedomIsComing.
19. Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri is hosting a Nelson-Atkins at Home Juneteenth celebration. The event will host a wide range of events, including DJs, prominent Black creatives, artwork, book reading, and lectures on how to get involved in Black Lives Matter.
20. Tea With Queen And J
Tea With Queen and J is a podcast hosted by two Black womanists who speak about politics, liberation, pop culture, and more. This year, the duo is hosting a Juneteenth Virtual Kickback that will feature DJs and prominent Black creatives. You can join via Zoom once you register for free.
21. NYC Coalition For Educational Justice
The Coalition for Educational Justice is hosting a Juneteenth Virtual Block Party to celebrate the holiday. The event's main focus will be to empower the community and educate them on why defunding the police and fully funding NYC public schools is important for the advancement of the community.