June 18, 2023—Music, dance, theater, film, as well as the visual arts, are invaluable platforms for sharing the significance of Juneteenth, which I think of as our nation’s true independence day. As we mark the third year of national celebrations, once again we have the opportunity to showcase how the arts and culture can be utilized to illuminate the values of racial equality and social justice.

This week, I am sharing a list of Juneteenth 2023 events and activities that are being held in some of the nation’s urban centers, as well as links to things you and your family can do to celebrate Freedom Day:

NJPAC’S PSEG True Diversity Film Series on Monday, June 19, 2023, marks Juneteenth with an in-person panel discussion about the impact of slavery on New Jersey’s. Curated by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the audience is encouraged to watch in advance the two-part film, The Price of Silence: The Forgotten Story of New Jersey’s Enslaved People. You can view Part 1 at this link and Part 2 at this link. Register here to attend the free program, which begins at 6 p.m. (ET)

All the tickets are gone, but you can still stream the 2023 Juneteenth event sponsored by The Healing of Nations Foundation, in association with Carnegie Hall, at this link. The “All-American Freedom Day: Renewing Passion for Freedom and Democracy” celebration begins at 7:00 p.m. (ET). This year’s honorees are Fordham University Law professor Gay McDougall; civil rights leader the Rev. James Lawson, and The Carter Center.

For those of you in the Chicago-area, information about Juneteenth celebrations can be found at this link.

Once again, Detroit marks Juneteenth with a week of festivities. For more information, click here.

Arts & Culture Connections readers in Los Angeles can find local Juneteenth celebration information here.

Outdoor Afro, which is based in Oakland, California, is holding its third annual Juneteenth event. The theme is “Freedom to Access Water.” The organization is urging Black families to discover a nearby water source in their neighborhoods. For 2.5 hours, participants are asked to reflect in honor of the 2.5 years that freedom was delayed for the 250-thousand enslaved people living in Galveston, Texas. They also have launched an educational campaign to help people understand the true meaning of Juneteenth and Outdoor Afro’s nature work. You can download the free social media toolkit at this link.

And if you live nearby or planning to travel to the birthplace of Juneteenth, you can learn about Galveston, Texas’s plans for its 2023 celebrations at this link.

Take some time to learn the meaning of the Juneteenth flag. You can read all about it at this link.

Juneteenth also is a great day to read (or reread) the brilliant book, On Juneteenth, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning legal scholar and historian, Annette Gordon Reed. Ms. Reed, who grew up in East Texas, has won more than 16 book prizes for her books. On Juneteenth unpacks the history of the holiday. One key point she makes: Juneteenth celebrates a people’s enduring spirit rather than General Granger’s decree.

Want to learn more about the African-American experience and cultural legacy? Here is a link to 21 documentaries that will educate, illuminate, inspire, and empower you!

You’ll find 53 recipes for celebrating Juneteenth from Black chefs and cooks at this link And plant-based eaters will find some scrumptious Juneteenth recipes at this link!

And don’t forget that you can utilize the cultural and emotional significance of June 19th as a mid-year reset point—an opportunity to reflect, refresh, regroup and prepare to tackle the rest of the challenges 2023 has in store for each of us.

As always, I invite you to share your thoughts and comments below.

PS: I heard the four-day Freedom Festival in Washington, D.C., Juneteenth Philly, and the multiple days of Juneteenth celebrations in Atlanta were amazing! If you attended any of these events, please share your experiences below.


Leave a Reply