Juneteenth will feature a flag-raising ceremony, march and block party on Friday in Salt Lake City and a car caravan on Saturday in Ogden, but other events will be online as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The June 19th holiday — contracted to “Juneteenth” — marks the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free the slaves there, the last in the nation. In 2016, the Utah Legislature declared the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth Freedom Day; it’s one of 47 states to make it an official observance.
Juneteenth events in Utah include:
Juneteenth Day Flag Raising (Friday, 11:30 a.m.) • At the Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 S. State St. in Salt Lake City.
Juneteenth/Freedman’s Bureau Project (Friday, 1 p.m.) • FamilySearch deputy chief genealogical officer Thom Reed will share and discuss records and resources available by FamilySearch and FamilySearch partners to help individuals of African descent further their family history. The event will be livestreamed on the FamilySearch Facebook page.
Juneteenth Protest and Block Party (Friday, 1:30 p.m. at Washington Square, 451 S. State St.) • This live event will include speakers, music and a solidarity march. (Meet on the east side of Washington Square for the march.) Organizers at Black Lives Matter-Utah encourage participants to wear face masks, bring hand sanitizer, social distance and “keep yourself and others safe.”
Juneteenth Black Fireside (Friday, 6 p.m.) • Streaming live on the Black Lives Matter to Christ Facebook page, the event will be a “collective healing space … as we explore and share our experiences as black Latter-day Saints.”
The State of Black Utah Town Hall (Friday, 6:30-8 p.m. on Zoom and Facebook) • This event will address “Mind, Body & Spirit: Black Mental Health In the Midst of Crisis.” Youth, young adults and emerging leaders will share how they are coping with racism and injustices and what they want for their future. Among the participants will be Jazzalyn Livingston, the NAACP’s national program manager for its youth and college division.
Juneteenth Commemorative Caravan (Saturday, 11 a.m.) • All are invited to join the caravan through Ogden to share messages of freedom, hope, healing and unity. Participants are asked to line up their cars, trucks and motorcycles at the Marshall White Community Center, 222 28th St. in Ogden. The caravan will travel to Wall Avenue past Union Station, then travel down 25th Street and Washington Boulevard back to the Marshall White Community Center. Participants are also invited to walk the route, if they wish.
Juneteenth Festival and Holiday (Saturday, 2-6 p.m.) • Hip hop, R&B, spoken word, dance, drumming, jazz and gospel performances will be streamed live on Facebook, Instagram and Zoom. (Go to weber.edu/juneteenth to find links.)
Juneteenth Gospel Sunday & Father’s Day Tribute (Sunday, June 21, 2-6 p.m.) • This event will feature local choirs and minister J. David Bratton, who wrote the song “Every Praise Is to Our God.” (Go to weber.edu/juneteenth to find links.)