Juneteenth (June 19) is a day of celebration and recognition of the end of chattel slavery in Texas. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to inform enslaved Black Americans of their freedom — more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The following year — and every year thereafter — June 19th has been a celebration of freedom in the Black community in Texas and beyond.
At United Way for Greater Austin, we will be closing our office on Friday, June 18 in recognition of Juneteenth. We invite you to join us and your neighbors in celebrating this day of freedom. Here are 7 ways to Live United and celebrate Juneteenth this year:
1. Learn more about the history of Juneteenth (virtual)
The history of Juneteenth is something that is not often taught in schools. Take some time to learn more about the significance of this day. Here’s an informative article from VOX, a list of books for people of all ages, and a short video from History.
2. Attend “Juneteenth 2021: Stay Black and Live Vol.2” (in-person and virtual)
This city-wide Juneteenth festival is presented by Six Square, CarverMuseumATX, and the Black Austin Coalition, in partnership with Jump On It, the Austin Area Urban League, Austin Justice Coalition, and the Greater East Austin Youth Association. This day-long celebration kicks off with a parade at 10 am and ends at 9 pm with a fireworks display.
3. Take a self-guided tour through East Austin (socially distanced)
Park at the United Way office and follow our pre-mapped 3.3 mile round-trip, self-guided tour of historical landmarks celebrating Black culture on the East Side. And at the end of your trip check out some of these Black-owned restaurants.
4. Shop at the Noir Creators Space Open Market (in-person)
Noir Creators Space Open Market will feature 40 local Black business owners and creatives offering but not limited to food and beverage, hair care and beauty, wellness products, educational tools, and more.
5. Jump on your bike and join the “Juneteenth Social Ride” (in-person)
Join Black History Bike Ride and explore Austin’s Black cultural legacy and untold stories by making stops at six historically significant locations. There will also be some very special guest speakers on the ride!
6. Enjoy good music and food at the “Round Rock Rhythm and Ribs Festival” (in-person)
“The Voice” Inc. and the City of Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department are joining forces again for the annual Round Rock Juneteenth Rhythm. This year’s powerhouse music lineup features international DJ sensation JAY SHALÉ/DJ SHALÉ, Grammy Award-Winner and international superstar Eric Bellinger, Grammy-nominated artist Montell Jordan, and more!
7. Donate to local nonprofits that serve the Black community (virtual)
There are many incredible organizations in Austin fighting for social justice, racial equity, and preserving and furthering Black culture in our community. Some great ones to check out are African-American Youth Harvest Foundation, Austin-Area Urban League, Austin Justice Coalition, Black Mamas ATX, and Six Square.
To this day, there remains a connection between systemic racism and generational poverty in our community. Race and zip code continue to be some of the biggest predictors of a person’s life outcomes. We can only break the cycle of poverty by standing up for racial justice. This is why we celebrate Juneteenth at United Way. Our office will be closed on June 18, and we invite you to Live United with us in the continued fight against poverty and inequity in our community.