Why do you celebrate Juneteenth?

This weekend, Alaskans and others across our country will commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas finally learned they were free, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Juneteenth is a time to recognize and amplify Black excellence. It is also a call to action: that we must engage in anti-racism in every aspect of our lives to push back against the continued oppression of white supremacy throughout our education, government, and legal systems and throughout our communities. And it is a reminder of the growth and healing we are capable of when we learn about our true histories. 

Juneteenth is also a time to reflect upon the importance of prioritizing freedom from over freedom to. For decades "states" and plantation owners thought they had the freedom to enslave human beings for profit. But we all must have freedom from enslavement, violence, misinformation, colonization, government retaliation, and brutality of any kind; and fight for freedom from attacks on our genders and identities. 

Juneteenth is an opportunity to lift up all voices and ensure everyone can access and participate in the decisions impacting our communities and lives. To have a true democracy, all Alaskans must be able to vote and be reflected by the leaders we elect. 

The Anchorage Juneteenth Citywide Celebration will be the largest ever, starting with a Freedom Rally at 12:30 pm on Saturday, June 18th at the Delaney Park strip. There will be over 100 vendors, games, and activities for the whole family, entertainment, dignitaries, a parade, a pageant, speakers, and more! We will be there running the KidZone (lots of fun activities!), and helping voters understand the new Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system. We need more volunteer help, please email [email protected] if you can join us for a shift!

In Fairbanks on Saturday, we’ll be at NAACP’s Freedom Day from 10 am to 2 pm at Allridge Park. This picnic and party will have food, vendors, cultural presentations, and activities for the whole family. 

We hope you can join us at these events or others in your community, celebrating freedom, standing in solidarity with others, and speaking truth to power toward a thriving, just, and sustainable future. See you out there!

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