GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Saturday, June 19 is Juneteenth, the holiday that celebrates when enslaved African Americans in Texas learned they were free in 1865. This was 3 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1862.
Groups in West Michigan plan to celebrate this weekend.
Organizers with the group Justice 4 All say it’s important everyone knows about Juneteenth and the impact it has on the United States. They plan to host the inaugural Justice 4 All Juneteenth Jam on Saturday in Grand Rapids.
The event will take place at Ah-Nab-Awen Park from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free and open to the public, with organizers planning to celebrate Black art, entertainment and culture. There will be live performances, Black-owned business vendors, art, food and much more.
Julius Rogers, the event organizer, says it’s important that everyone gets involved.
“It is a true independence day celebration. The celebration, yes, it is a Black holiday, but it’s to be celebrated by everyone,” said Rogers. “We are all able to come together and celebrate this day that all Americans were truly recognized. This is not just a day for Black citizens to celebrate; this is a day for everyone to celebrate.”
Other groups across West Michigan are also celebrating Juneteenth this weekend. News 8 has put together a list of events that can be found here.