Come out and take part in the Emancipation Day festival this weekend! There's no better time to come out and celebrate freedom for all on Saturday. There are a few events taking place around Tucson showcasing African American art, culture, and more.
What is 'Juneteenth'?
When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1st of 1863, they didn't have instant communication in the States to get the message out. It took until June 19th of 1865 to finally reach the last of the enslaved peoples in Texas. The following year, freed Texas slaves celebrated the official date of freedom as June 19th or "Juneteenth".
More freed slaves in other states began celebrating freedom on the 19th of June as the years went on. This grew in observation through the years. These usually involved festivals, picnics, family gatherings, cultural arts symposiums, and religious services. Many consider June 19th, 1865 to be the United States' second Independence Day, as it's the day that all American's truly became free.
If you want to hide from the heat and participate in the festivities, the Pima Community College and the Tucson Juneteenth Committee are putting on a virtual event. Head to YouTube.com/PCCTVSTREAM on Saturday morning at 11 am to watch a celebration of Black history, culture, and dance. They are hosting a second show that evening from 9 pm to 10 pm if you miss the first one. There will be dancing, songs, music, and a history focused performance. Support the show without having to physically attend.
The Tucson Juneteenth Festival is hosting a live festival on Saturday afternoon from 4 pm to 8 pm. Head to the Dunbar Pavillions at 325 W 2nd Ave for food, history, and other vendors. Food trucks will be there, as well as educational and cultural vendors. Bring some water as it's slated to be a hot day.
Stay out of the heat and attend a Juneteenth film screening on Friday from 7 pm to 10 pm at The Screening Room. They are screening the film Buck Breaking, which discusses "the intricate areas of colonization and identity domination placed upon Black folks." Tickets are $20 a person, with $5 going towards the Tucson Juneteenth Festival. This is sure to be an informative and insightful evening. The Screening Room is located at 127 E Congress St. Reserve your seats ahead of time to ensure you get a spot.
Stay Home and Participate
If the triple-digit weather is too much for your comfort, stay inside and participate in a virtual Juneteenth celebration. There are plenty of ways to participate! Random House publisher has a list of great books to read if you want to learn more about the subject. I've read a few of the ones on the list linked above and found them all to be highly informational! Crank up the A/C and spend the day with a cup of tea and a good book.
Head to the Juneteenth website to learn more about the period of time surrounding this important date. There are ideas there for how to participate and things you can do to raise awareness of this holiday. Many of us may not have been aware of this holiday prior to the last decade. It has grown exponentially every year, and many states have it listed as a state holiday. Education is the first step to recognizing the significance of this date.
As always, wear your SPF, drink water, and stay in the shade if you're heading out!