On June 17th, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the United States – after being celebrated in some communities for many years. What is Juneteenth, you ask?
Juneteenth is the celebration commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, outlawing slavery in states that were fighting to secede from the nation. While news traveled to many states (immediately freeing those in bondage), information regarding this did not reach some more remote states. On June 19th,1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, news finally reached Galveston, in the last state to receive the news, Texas. This news was met with jubilant celebrations. From there, Juneteenth was celebrated in many communities with the gathering of families, food, and fellowship. Celebrations continued to grow over the years, with some of the largest celebrations taking place in Galveston, Texas. This year, there are several ways to celebrate Juneteenth around the Valley, including these public events:
Tempe History Museum’s 9th Annual Juneteenth Celebration “Why We Celebrate: Remembering Our Past and Looking Forward to Our Future”
June 18th, 11 am-3 pm
809 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, Arizona 85282
Food trucks, Hands-on activities for kids, Community performances including African drumming, and more
The Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Festival hosted by the Arizona Informant Foundation
June 18th 5pm-10pm
East Lake Park
1549 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ
Live entertainment, free health screenings, educational workshops, youth essay contest, children’s activities, ethnic arts and crafts, vendors, games, and the finest authentic soul food.
Scottsdale: 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration partnered with Change The Lead
June 19th, 2-7 pm
7408 E Osborn
Scottsdale, Az 85251
Live entertainment, raffles, kids activities, and more
Chandler: Juneteenth Kickoff – Equity, Education, Achievements & Celebration
June 16th 6:30pm-9:30pm
Chandler Gilbert Community College – Pecos Campus
2626 East Pecos Road
Chandler, AZ 85225
Freedom Week Kickoff celebration with special guest Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, Councilwoman Christine Ellis of the City of Chandler, and Dr. Matthew Whitaker. Reception to follow to include music, entertainment and celebration activities.
Miss Juneteenth Pageant
June 17th Doors open at 6 pm
Chandler Center of the Arts
250 North Arizona Avenue
Chandler, AZ 85225
Will showcase and celebrate the many academic and artistic achievements of contestants vying for the title of Miss Juneteenth.
Mesa Zen Nights Juneteenth Celebration
June 17th 6-10pm
1 N. MacDonald, Mesa AZ 85201
Main and MacDonald
Vegan celebration with 40+ vendors, all plant-based and vegan food, Mayoral proclamation, guest speakers, children’s story time, and more.
Ways to Celebrate at Home
- Read Together About The History of Juneteenth
- The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini
- What Is Juneteenth? By Kirsti Jewel
- Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
- Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
- Support Black Owned Businesses
- Cook Traditional Foods