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How You Can Celebrate and Commemorate Juneteenth

Tyra Douyon - June 6, 2023

Family celebrating Juneteenth

June 19, 2023, marks the second anniversary of Juneteenth as a federal holiday observed in the United States. Although this holiday has just come on the radar for some, it’s been honored and commemorated by African Americans, especially Black Southerners, and Texans, for more than 150 years. Traditionally, Juneteenth is celebrated with backyard barbecues, family picnics, and red food and drinks. For others, it may be more like a religious gathering with prayer and time to reflect. 

Now that the day is more visible within American society, what changes when an informal celebration becomes an official holiday? How can we continue celebrating authentically and respectfully? 

One thing people can do is attend one of the many events hosted by different organizations and cities around the country. The metro Atlanta area is an ideal place to gather to commemorate Juneteenth. 

Activities Around Metro Atlanta for Juneteenth 

  • William Root House Museum & Garden – If you’re looking for an educational Juneteenth experience, come out on June 10th from 10-4 p.m. for a celebration you and your family will enjoy. The day will include guided museum tours, living history demonstrations, crafts, storytelling, and much more.  
  • Salem-Panola Library, DeKalb County Public Library – On Monday, June 5th, make a paper version of the flag created in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to celebrate emancipation. This is a great place to educate your children about the history and impact of Juneteenth. 
  • Juneteenth Festival 2023 – On Friday, June 16th from 12-3 p.m., Kennesaw State University is hosting its anticipated Juneteenth event. With live performances by Soul Food Cypher and KSU’s Black Organizations, Black-owned vendors, food, and more,  this is one you definitely don’t want to miss! 
  • Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival – Join the City of Atlanta for the 11th annual Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday, June 17th. This is the perfect weekend for family, friends, and fun. You can look forward to live music, local and international vendors, and an array of cultural activities for all attendees. The event also includes a televised parade featuring captivating floats, dance troops, community youth organizations, marching bands, and special guests.      
  • Concert on the Green: A Juneteenth Celebration – Come out on Saturday, June 17th from 6 -11 p.m. to enjoy live music, food, and community. The City of Acworth invites everyone to bring blankets and folding chairs and join this celebration of freedom.
  • City of Austell Juneteenth Festival – The City of Austell invites you to this year’s Juneteenth festival on Saturday, June 17th from 12- 7 p.m. featuring live music, African drummers, stilt walkers, food vendors, storytellers, African dancers, face painting, arts & crafts, and more! This commemorative celebration is family-friendly. 
  • Around Sound: CTS Juneteenth Jubilee – For an event perfect for music lovers, come out with your family for an incredible musical concert commemorating Juneteenth and highlighting Atlanta’s premiere performers and composers on Saturday, June 17th from 8-9:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. The show features internationally-acclaimed singer Indra Thomas, cellist and composer Okorie “OK Cello” Johnson, and composers B.E. Boykin, Uzee Brown, and Joel Thompson. The CTS Juneteenth Community Choir will also be performing! Free concert admission and parking with RSVP!

  • Juneteenth Atlanta 5K Freedom Run – If you’re looking for a different way to honor the day, on Sunday, June 18th from 9 -10  p.m. is an event for runners, walkers, and those who just want to do something active with their family. Lace up your tennis shoes and join the starting lineup at the Juneteenth 5K at Centennial Olympic Park. Juneteenth Atlanta is “running for freedom, liberty, human rights, social justice, judicial reform, and world peace.” 

Although Juneteenth is a day that commemorates a tragic history for Black Americans and the United States, there is still a movement that values honoring this history instead of forgetting it. This year, not only should you consider attending a Juneteenth event in your city, but educate yourself and others about what the day truly means and how we as an American society and as a world can envision a future that focuses on justice and freedom for all.    

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