Jun 17, 2022 - Things to Do

How to celebrate Juneteenth in Austin

Illustration of the Juneteenth and American flags in a stand.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ahead of Monday's holiday, many Americans are still learning about a day that speaks to the country's DNA.

Driving the news: Approximately six in 10 Americans say they know "a lot" or "some" about Juneteenth, compared to less than four in 10 in May 2021, per a new Gallup poll.

What it is: ​​Juneteenth memorializes the moment when the last enslaved people in Galveston were officially informed of their freedom, on June 19, 1865.

  • Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April 1865, but it was not until at least mid-May that Confederate forces in parts of Texas retired their arms.

How to celebrate: The new federal holiday should be viewed as more than another day off from work, Laquan Austion, founder of The Juneteenth Foundation, told Axios.

Here are some ways he says people can recognize Juneteenth:

  • Learn the history around the holiday.
  • Scholarships; he encourages people to give to historically Black colleges and universities.
  • Push your company on diversity, equity and inclusion policies. "DEI is really sexy right now," he says. "We want to make sure that remains important. What are our companies' plans?"

How to celebrate: Austion said it's important to recognize that for some people, this is a "moment of solace and mourning." But still, people should get out in their communities, go to events and use this as an "opportunity to learn and hear."

  • Attend the Juneteenth parade, running along Chicon Street between East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Rosewood Ave., starting 10am Saturday.
  • Chow down at the Soul Food Truck Festival on Saturday at Huston-Tillotson University. Tickets start at $15.
  • Watch the fireworks at 9:30pm at the end of the all-day Juneteenth Festival at Rosewood Park.
  • Dance the night away Sunday at The Volstead's Bodega Nights: Juneteenth Edition, with performances by DJ Zeeweed, Norman Ba$e, DJ Kilo 2 Posh and more.
  • Grab fresh fruits and vegetables while enjoying live music, a pickling demo and a cooking demo at Texas Farmers Market's Juneteenth celebration, 9am-1pm Saturday at Lakeline and 10am-2pm Sunday at Mueller.

📖 What to read: We recommend Harvard historian Annette Gordon-Reed's essay collection "On Juneteenth," partly a memoir about growing up in Texas.


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