Juneteenth 2021 – June DEI Blog
Shelley Danner – Adjunct Faculty – MFA Systems Design Thinking
Larry Lunsford – Assistant Director – Community Arts Partnership
Juneteenth, which is June 19, is a nationally celebrated holiday that recognizes the commemoration of the ending of slavery. It is also known to some as the African American Emancipation Day. This day recognizes the trials and tribulations that Black people had, and continue to have, but it also acknowledges strength, perseverance and growth. This day is a day of celebration to show where African Americans came from and the need to continue to move onward.
What is “Juneteenth?” – Personal Reflections from Larry Lunsford
In short, it’s the presumed vernacular that contemporary American Black people named as their day of emancipation, or the official release from ‘legal’ slavery.
This is obviously a really big event to commemorate and to enshrine.
Here and now, in June 2021, I must acknowledge that our nation is at a period of deepening divide among its citizenry. This divide is not necessarily ‘Black people versus White people,” but a divide in ethical thought, fairness and equity.
America is still trying to shake off the damaging imagery portrayed to the world of police violence against Black and Brown people and their subsequent deaths due to systemic racism.
Today, there is much discussion as our academic institutions grapple with their inevitable reopenings and much of the discussion centers around how they will teach the history of race and racism in American history and its cartilage to every aspect of American life.
The aforementioned ‘divide’ can be defined as those that wish to illuminate and discuss what some call ‘Critical Race Theory’, which is defined as racism being a social construct that is not just person to person, but is something that is embedded in legal systems. Some believe there is no need or value in bringing to light America’s sordid past of racial intolerance and inequity. but I disagree
I believe the greatest disinfectant is the sunlight of knowledge & truth.
Juneteenth can and should serve as an emotional emancipation day from inequity and mistreatment of peoples that have been mistreated and marginalized throughout history.
Let Juneteenth serve as a clarion call to seek truth about our historical wrongdoings with the hopeful ultimate outcome to learn from these tragedies, so as to never fall short again and repeat them.
Juneteenth Event Round-Up
Below is a list of local events in honor of Juneteenth, check out all the ways to celebrate this year in and around Detroit:
Juneteenth Film Festival
Emagine Royal Oak
200 N. Main St
Royal Oak, MI 48067
The local Juneteenth film festival will showcase different films each week that honor Black actors and actresses, writers, directors and filmmakers along with films that educate on racism and Black history. Check back each week for that week’s features.
Juneteenth Jubilee Freedom Weekend
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
The Charles Wright Museum will stream “Juneteenth: Lift Every Voice,” a film documenting the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” through the eyes of historic museums and anthropologists from across the U.S. on its website.
A free screening of “Concrete Cowboy” starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin will kick off Juneteenth Jubilee Freedom Weekend in Campus Martius Park.
The Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll is a unique shopping experience dedicated to promoting quality education, economics, and community engagement all while highlighting Black-owned businesses on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion. Enjoy a live podcast, pop-up artists, musical performances, impactful info sessions, great food, and discounts from participating stores! Hosted by the Charles Wright Museum in partnership with Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit, Motor City Business Round Table, and the Avenue of Fashion Business Association.
Juneteenth Mobility Stroll and Roll
Old City Hall Park
13615 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
The journey of emancipation took two and a half years for BIPOC to hear ‘the call of freedom’ ringing together. Mobilizing on Michigan Avenue named after Lake Michigan, also known as US-12, the historic road that originates in downtown Detroit and continues to Dearborn, Chicago and runs all the way to Aberdeen, Washington, together we will walk, bike, roll or stroll to re-enact the route of emancipation. The route will begin at Michigan Avenue and Schaefer unto the borders of Dearborn and Detroit crossover on Wyoming Avenue and end at City Hall Park. Rest stops are planned along the route and more.
Join ZAB CULTURAL COLLECTIVE, a contemporary art gallery and co-working space for artists and entrepreneurs, to celebrate Juneteenth with an art exhibition of amazing local artists and artisans. This will be an indoor/outdoor event to help ensure the safety of attendees.
The City of Detroit is planning for its Juneteenth festival to take place in the same area where the Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum is on Grand River Avenue. Check out a day of fun that includes food, music, art, education, reconciliation, and more.
Unity in the Community: A Juneteenth Celebration
Lathrup Village Parks and Recreation Department
27400 Southfield Road
Lathrup Village, MI 48076
Families are invited to Lathrup Village’s first-ever Juneteenth Celebration with entertainment, music, panel discussion and food trucks. Entertainment includes storytelling, music, children’s activities and more. A panel discussion with key community leaders including Rep. Kyra Bolden, Rep. Tyrone Carter, Judge Shelia Johnson and Yusef Shakur. Free, registration required.
21380 Coolidge Highway
Oak Park, MI 48237
Shop with local vendors, enjoy food and special performances, kick off Father’s Day and celebrate Juneteenth.
Sarah Garrett Park
11369 Dequindre St.
Hamtramck, MI 48212
The Hamtramck Arts & Culture Commission is planning a community cleanup at an important historic site in Hamtramck for Juneteenth in honor of Sarah Garrett.
Want to Learn More? Check out these resources below:
- A Look Into Juneteenth History – Charity Dean & Jamon Jordan – City of Detroit Government
- The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Juneteenth World Wide Celebration
- Honoring Juneteenth Through Art in Galveston, Texas
- Resources on Juneteenth at Stanford Libraries | Stanford Libraries
- What is Juneteenth?
- What Is Juneteenth? – HISTORY