This annual celebration of the day in 1865 when news of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War finally reached Texas has come to the consciousness of more people as we continue to confront racism and racial violence in our nation, but the celebration is not new. African Americans have celebrated Juneteenth since 1866.
Perhaps you’d like to join in the celebration this year. Here are some options to consider:
Read up on the rich history of Juneteenth. This article from Vox is a good place to start, but if you want something in-depth, try this Library of Congress post that highlights the voices of enslaved persons. To learn what Black people need from white people who want to celebrate, read this bracing itemized list, and pick one!
For a crash course in antiracism, watch a 20-minute summary presentation for the Dominican associates below.
Find local events you can attend by searching Juneteenth and the name of your town in a search engine or Facebook. A Springfield search yielded many exciting options for participation. If you have little experience in Black spaces you might feel awkward or uncomfortable, but that is not a reason not to go! Be humble, observant, and respectful of others at the event. Spend more time listening than talking. Feel what it feels like to be a minority. If you go with family or friends, your common experience will be good ground for honest discussion later about how you felt and where it might lead you to personal transformation.
Springfield, IL Local Juneteenth 2023 Events
Juneteenth, Inc. is hosting Springfield’s Juneteenth Celebration from June 1418, 2023.
The Juneteenth Celebration is more than just a party in the park. It’s a 5-day celebration full of education, community engagement, and FREE entertainment.
The event includes collaborations with Lincoln Library on the Juneteenth Talent Show, Downtown Springfield Inc.'s Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, Illinois State Museum's art exhibit NOIR III displaying the Juneteenth: Freeish History Timeline and Street Art Fair.
All Juneteenth, Inc., festivities for this year are in-person, free to the public, and held throughout the City of Springfield.
Wednesday, June 14th - 6 p.m. - Juneteenth Talent Show
Juneteenth Talent Show premieres at the Lincoln Library, 326 S 7th St., Springfield, Ill. Starts at 6 p.m. Participants from across Illinois will showcase their talents in dance, singing, comedy, and more. This event has free admission and parking. The building is disability-friendly.
Thursday, June 15th - 5:30 p.m. - LEVITT AMP CONCERT
Join Us on the Y-Block, S 4th St &, E Jackson St, Springfield, IL 62701 for the Juneteenth LEVITT AMP Concert. A night of great entertainment. The Y-Block will also have food vendors. Stop by the community Corner to learn more about Springfield’s Community Organizations.
Friday, June 16th - STREET ART FAIR from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - NOIR ART SHOW starts at 5:30 p.m.
CREATIVE FLOW! Celebrating Black Art and Artists. Come to the Illinois State Museum, 502 S Spring St, Springfield, IL 62706 presenting NOIR III. This is the 3rd Annual NOIR Show featuring a Street Art Fair. There will be an award ceremony for the participating artists. The Street Art Fair will include Black owned businesses and food vendors. Come and enjoy Black cultural art reflecting on the celebration of Juneteenth.
Saturday, June 17th - 10 a.m. - Juneteenth Parade
COMMUNITY! Juneteenth paints the street with community organizations, leaders, bands, dance teams, and more in celebration of the holiday. Address: Brown Street. Springfield, IL.
Saturday, June 17th & Sunday, June 18th - Juneteenth Celebration
Join us for the Juneteenth Celebration with Food, Games, Music, prizes, fitness in the park, and more! Two-day Juneteenth Celebration in Comer Cox Park, located at Capitol Ave. and, N Martin Luther King Jr Dr. See what artists will hit the stage. Sunday is the Outdoor revival and Crowning of the 2023 Mr. & Miss. Juneteenth. Activities for all ages! The celebration on the 17th will start right after the parade and June 18th Juneteenth Celebration will start at 9 a.m.
It’s true that people living today are not responsible for the existence of institutionalized racial oppression. It’s also true that you that we still have a responsibility to ourselves and our communities to help dismantle it. For white people who’ve not given much thought to how to do this, an excellent resource for you is a book by educator and transformation specialist Kathy Obear, Ed. D. …But I’m Not Racist! Tools for Well-Meaning Whites. It is available as a free download at Dr. Obear’s website. Dr. Obear is currently working with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on their own desire to become an antiracist institution.
On June 19, 1865, news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached enslaved peoples in Texas. The purpose of that document has yet to be fully realized. You can help by becoming knowledgeable about Juneteenth and the racist history of our nation, going outside your comfort zone to experience the world of the descendants of slavery, and committing to be the change in your corner of the world. By doing so, you are doing nothing less than responding to the call of the Gospel to assure the full social equality and participation of every citizen, all children of God.
A prayer to celebrate Juneteenth — a light of hope for freedom and justice
The Office of Black Catholics invites all of us to celebrate this day as a reminder of the transformative power of human liberation. We encourage all to spend time with our families, reflecting on the meaning of the day by using this as a day of education about our collective history and taking the time to pray for real change.
We pray, O Lord, for change.
Jesus you revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds,
and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins.
Guide us, through the love you revealed,
to establish the justice you proclaimed,
that all peoples might dwell in harmony and peace,
united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you.
And most of all, Lord, change our routine worship and work into genuine encounter with you and our better selves so that our lives will be changed for the good of all.
2 thoughts on “How To Celebrate Juneteenth”
Thank you, Sisters, for this beautiful action and for offering these resources. You are educating us and encouraging us to be inclusive Christians, and to learn about and love those of us who may look differently, but are just the same, under the skin.
As a Catholic, educated in our Catholic schools in Springfield, I am grateful.
Thank you for creating this post. It spoke lovingly of how to stand up as ally. Effective.