Juneteenth Celebration Day

The state of Michigan has recognized Juneteenth as a holiday for the last 16 years, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has once again issued a proclamation that declares today, June 19, as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan.

Slavery was abolished through the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863; however, the last African American slaves weren’t notified of their freedom until June 19, 1865, when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to make the announcement in General Order No. 3 at the end of the Civil War.

This year marks Lansing’s 27th anniversary celebrating Juneteenth. It is Michigan’s 16th year as a state holiday, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has once again issued a proclamation that declares today, June 19, as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan.

“Juneteenth is a crucial day in our nation’s history to remember how far we have come and recognize how far we still have to go,” said Whitmer, who encouraged all Michiganders to participate in African American history and culture.

Juneteenth has typically been celebrated in participation with the Lansing Juneteenth Committee with an annual essay/scholarship contest, a ceremony, parade and the Freedom Park Celebration. Those events were canceled due to COVID-19.

“Juneteenth National Freedom Day is a phrase that I hope becomes a reality,” said Marilyn Plummer, chairperson for the Lansing Juneteenth Committee.

“Our nation is in uproar with racial unrest, a national pandemic and social justice issues,” she added. “As a community and country, we stop to reflect on the freedoms we have earned, which were not just handed to us. Once we recognize one another as citizens with equal rights and representation, will we be truly, completely free.”

Here are some ways you can observe or celebrate Juneteenth.

Read about Juneteenth

Read books like “Juneteenth, Celebrating Freedom” by Julian Van Dyke or “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper, among others.

Support Black-owned Businesses

Lists can be found at:

The Black Business Alliance of Greater Lansing Facebook Page

wlns.com/news/michigan/a-list-of-black-owned-restaurants-in-lansing/

miwf.org/support-black-owned-businesses/

Commit to Follow Words with Actions

Be responsible for continuing your history education through research, thoughtful conversation and education. Go more in-depth by watching documentaries and movies like “13th” now showing on Netflix.

LansingJuneteenthCelbration.org phrased it best in a message on its website, as shared by Plummer:

“The celebration of Juneteenth is a multicultural recognition of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. For African Americans, it is a tribute to the strength, endurance and faith of their ancestors. For all of America, it is a reminder that none of us is free until all of us are free.”

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