Wednesday, September 27, 2023

City to Mark Juneteenth with Celebration


In its second year celebrating Juneteenth as a federally recognized holiday, the City of Albuquerque will be holding a two-day celebration this year from June 16-18 at the  Civic Plaza & Convention Center. 

The event will feature local and national performers, soul food, music, workshops and vendors. 

“The City is proud to sponsor culturally significant events such as Juneteenth that celebrate Black liberation” said Michelle Melendez, City of Albuquerque’s Director of Office of Equity & Inclusion “The Juneteenth celebration organized by Albuquerque Juneteenth Committee really highlights the rich culture of the city’s Black communities. We encourage everyone to come out and join in the celebration!”

The event aims to celebrate and empower the Black community and while educating event-goers   on how to change the narrative about Black history, Black people and Black stereotypes. Saffs Sanctuary will be presenting a Black Embodied Healing Space workshop. 

Juneteenth marks the day when the last enslaved people in the United States learned that they were free in 1865, despite the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior.

Celebrations of the holiday originated in Galveston, TX after Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in the city June 19, 1865, more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered and delivered General Order No. 3, which stated: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

Juneteenth- a play on words from the month and day the slaves were free has had several names over the years including: Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, second Independence Day and Emancipation Day. The holiday started as a small community event and eventually grew as Black Texans moved across the country. 

156 years later, Juneteenth was made a federal holiday in 2021 by President Joe Biden. Beside him stood the 96-year-old activist, Opal Lee. Lee is credited with leading the push to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. 

This city's celebration of the now federal holiday is supported by a plethora of community sponsors. The African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Presbyterian, Albuquerque Police Department and more are some of the top sponsors. 

The Baylor Project, an jazz-duo from New York City, will be taking the stage at the event. The group is a 6 time Grammy nominee and a NAACP  Image Award Winner. 

If you're a soccer fan, United will also be hosting a Juneteenth themed game on Saturday. The game will feature the first the first annual collard cup hosted by black diamonds during tailgate. 

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