LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mayor Greg Fischer and members of Louisville's Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission kicked off a series of citywide events to highlight the historical significance of Juneteenth Monday.
Considered the oldest African American holiday, Juneteenth celebrates the day Union Army general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to proclaim freedom from slavery on June 19, 1865 — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Fischer signed an executive order in February creating the city's Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission, a 15-member commission that reviews educational programming and develop events for the holiday.
Representatives from Louisville Visual Arts, Waterfront Park, Kentucky Center for African American History and Norton Healthcare joined the commission to discuss festivities June 17-20 that include a Juneteenth Day Camp, wellness fair and more.
"I think this will spark an interest in history as more young people in our city learn about the historical significance of Juneteenth," Jubilee Commissioner Metro Councilmember Keisha Dorsey (D-3) said. "As a commission, we also wanted to provide opportunities for everyone to engage in the arts and culture, health and wellness, and entrepreneurship."
The schedule of events include:
- June 14-18 – Juneteenth Day Camp hosted by Louisville Visual Arts and Waterfront Park for 10 children ages 7-12. In the afternoon, campers will explore Waterfront Park sites for visual art instruction and activities on the patio of the David K. Karem Building.
- June 17 – Metro Council Committee on Equity & Inclusion meeting to address "Critical Race Theory," an academic approach that examines how race and racism function, especially in K-12 and where numerous state legislatures are debating bills seeking to ban its use in the classroom.
- June 17-18 – WAVE-TV anchor and reporter Dawne Gee will discuss Juneteenth highlights and moderate panel discussions on air at 2 p.m.
- June 18 – LGBTQIA History, Struggles, Triumphs and Our Future panel (shown on MetroTV & YouTube) to discuss employment, health care and the creation of space for trans and queer persons of color.
- June 18 – Dare to Care to deliver food in partnership with National Panhellenic Council Louisville Local Divine 9 Black Greek fraternities and sororities.
- June 19 – Norton Healthcare’s Wellness Fair will provide information on healthy living and job opportunities at the Big Four Lawn from noon to 3 p.m.
- June 19 – Juneteenth at Fourth Street, an outdoor event featuring Black vendors and live musical performances by Louisville-based musical and spoken word acts, headlined by Victory Boyd. The event, hosted by the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and MELANnaire Marketplace, will run from noon to 7 p.m.
- June 20 – Virtual/In-person interfaith service at Burnett Avenue Baptist Church at 1 p.m. The service will be led by Senior Pastor Daniel Corrie Shull and can be found online at burnettavebapt.com.
The commission will also advise on ways to create community-wide celebrations in future years. Effective this year, Juneteenth is recognized as an official holiday for Louisville Metro Government workers.