Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates June 19, 1865 — the day the end of the Civil War was announced in Texas. It is known as our country’s second Independence Day.
Juneteenth has always been a day of celebration in the African-American community, with family and friends gathering to offer comfort, prayers, and a celebration of freedom. Today many pieces of the celebration focus on activities like fishing, rodeos, and barbecuing, but the main focus of the day is self-reflection and improvement.
A good way to explain the meaning of Juneteenth to children is to talk about the importance of human beings having a level of freedom in their day-to-day lives.
Below are three ways to celebrate and bring awareness of Juneteenth into your home:
Prepare a special meal
Coming together as a family for a special meal and discussion is a good way to celebrate Juneteenth, especially if young kids are involved. This is a great way to explain the importance and meaning of the holiday while encouraging healthy self-reflection techniques.
Need some ideas on traditional Juneteenth foods?
As you explore different ways to bring awareness about Juneteeth, be sure to watch or read the material before you introduce it to your child to make sure it makes sense on their level.
For older children, the National Museum of African American History & Culture offers good information about Juneteenth.
For younger kids, books can be an informative and entertaining resource. The following titles are available through the Douglas County Libraries:
- Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper is about a little girl who is upset about restrictions like bedtime.
- All Different Now by Angela Johnson tells the story of the First Day of Freedom in Texas from a little girl's perspective.
- The History of Juneteenth by Maximilian Smith includes a variety of photographs reflecting this special commemoration.
Have children create a drawing of what freedom and kindness look like for them.
Similar to other holidays like July 4th and Memorial Day, Juneteenth is an important day in American history because freedom is an important part of our history.
Denver is home to the Juneteenth Music Festival, a dynamic community event that annually attracts 50,000 people. In 2021, Juneteenth was recognized as a commemorative holiday by Denver City Council.
- June 18 from 2:00-8:00 PM – Juneteenth Eve Broadcast
Tune in from your phone or on your TV for live performances, music, entertainment, panels, and our 2021 Dream Big Awards.
- June 18 at 5:30-10:00 PM – Juneteenth R&B Summer Kickoff
Kick-off the weekend with an outdoor concert experience headlined by 112. Get your tickets here.
- June 19 at 9:00 AM – Juneteenth Parade
Be a part of one of Denver's longest-running parades, dating back to the 1950s. Nearly 3,000 people march in the Juneteenth Parade to honor the struggles and social progress achieved through marches and demonstrations organized for freedom, justice, and equality in our country's history.
- June 19 & 20 – Two-Day Street Festival
Street festivities will include music and entertainment at the Welton Street Corridor, Charles Cousins Plaza, Five Points Plaza, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater.