Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of racial slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1965 that Union Army general Gordon Grander proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The celebration that once started as a small community gathering in Texas quickly spread across the South. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the commemoration grew in popularity with a focus in postwar civil rights.
Juneteenth is now widely celebrated as a holiday of hope and a day to celebrate the end of racial slavery in the United States. It is also a time to reflect on what freedom means today and a time of joy to ease the pain, anger and sadness around the continued racial injustice in the United States.
How To Celebrate Juneteenth:
100 years ago, America was shaken by one of its deadliest acts of racial violence. The Tulsa Race Massacre took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921 when White citizens (many given weapons by city officials) attacked Black citizens and destroyed homes and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Many survivors left Tulsa, while Black and White residents who stayed in the city kept silent about the terror, violence and resulting losses for decades. The massacre was largely omitted from local, state and national histories.
What the Juneteenth colors represent:
Race – The Power of an Illusion is a documentary that questions the very idea of race as innate biology, suggesting that a belief in inborn racial difference is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth.
Pride Month is celebrated every June as a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots. On June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and neighborhood residents rioting on Christopher Street outside. LGBTQ+ activists have been organizing since at least the 1920s, but the rage and fervor caused by the Stonewall riots helped catapult the movement to a new level. Protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBTQ+ people could be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.
Pride month is celebrated by massive rallies, pride parades, parties, workshops, concerts, and countless other events. The LGBTQ+ community takes huge pride in their movement, going all out for the festivities with elaborate costumes and makeup.
Commemorations and memorials are also held for members of the community who have lost their lives to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS. Campaigns and rallies aim to promote and preserve the history and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community.
Celebrate Around The World:
Inner-City Arts, regarded as one of the nation’s most effective arts education providers, is an oasis of learning, achievement and creativity in the heart of Skid Row, and a vital partner in the work of transforming the lives of young people in Los Angeles and beyond.
During the school day, after school and on weekends, elementary, middle and high school students come to Inner-City Arts to work with professional teaching artists in well-equipped studios, receiving hands-on instruction in a range of subject areas within the visual, performing and media arts.
Equality is essential to Inner-City Arts’ mission, the Inner-City Arts Professional Development Institute provides experiential training for educators, university students, school administrators, and others dedicated to bringing high-quality arts education to students of all ages and backgrounds.
Inner-City Arts also supports student achievement and community growth by engaging families and members of the community through programs, performances, and events hosted in the state-of-the-art Rosenthal Theater.