Jun 17, 2022 - Things to Do

Ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Central Ohio

Illustration of a Black fist wearing a kente cloth bandana.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Central Ohio is getting ready to celebrate Juneteenth this weekend, the country's newest federal holiday, though it's well over a century old.

Why it matters: June 19, 1865, was the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, received news that Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

Flashback: President Joe Biden signed legislation into law last June establishing the holiday in response to a summer of protests following George Floyd's murder.

Zoom in: In June 2020, Mayor Andrew Ginther signed a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth in Columbus. This is the first year it's observed as a paid day off for city employees.

What they're saying: Laquan Austion, founder of The Juneteenth Foundation in Washington, D.C., says people of all races should view June 19 as an American holiday — not one just for Black people.

  • "Think about July Fourth," Austion tells Axios. "We celebrate that day for American independence. Juneteenth represents our independence from ourselves. Now we all have the ability to pursue the Founding Fathers' vision."

Ways to recognize Juneteenth:

  • Learn the history: Be introspective and ask, "Why were people still enslaved in 1865? Why didn’t they get the information in Galveston?" he says.
  • Scholarships: Give to historically Black colleges and universities.
  • DEI: 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?"
  • Celebrate: Austion says it’s important to recognize that for some people, this is a "moment of solace and mourning." Still, people should go to events and use this as an "opportunity to learn and hear."

On being an ally: "Definitely go out, be an ally, be an asset," Austion says. "But don't be tone deaf and try to hijack it as your own. Don't try to commercialize it. Go out there and enjoy the festivities and learn and celebrate this as Americans."

Juneteenth events this weekend

Juneteenth Market. 4-9pm Friday. Easton Town Center. Free!

25th annual Juneteenth Ohio Festival. Noon-11pm Saturday, Sunday. Genoa Park. $5-15.

Reynoldsburg Juneteenth Celebration. 10am-4pm. Huber Park. Free!

Juneteenth on the Ave. Noon-6pm Saturday. King Arts Complex. Free!

Ohio Village Jubilee Day Festival. Noon-6pm Saturday, 10am-5pm Sunday. $7-13. 3 and under free!

Juneteenth Community Festival. 4-9-pm Saturday. Phenix Banquet Center. $5.

Freedomworks: A Juneteenth Fireworks Celebration. 9:30pm Saturday. Columbus State Community College. Free!

Kelton House Museum & Garden Juneteenth Celebration. Noon-4pm Sunday. Free!

Juneteenth Commemoration with the band Red Hands. 7:30pm Sunday. Lincoln Theatre. $27.

Dublin's inaugural Juneteenth Commemoration and Celebration. 8:45pm Sunday. Riverside Crossing Park. Free!

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