Chandler celebrates Juneteenth

June 3, 2024
| by:
Vice Mayor OD Harris

Celebrating Juneteenth presents an opportunity for a community conversation on freedom, equality and justice. It is a day to honor the resilient and enduring spirit of those who fought for freedom and continue to shape the American experience.

Juneteenth invites us into a deeper understanding of our past, acknowledging the contributions and struggles of African Americans throughout American history. This holiday is a reminder that the journey toward true equality is ongoing.

Juneteenth is a pivotal chapter in the American story of liberation and civil rights. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, over two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The legacy of slavery left deep scars in our nation’s history in the form of racism, economic disparities and social injustices.

Juneteenth has long been a day of joy and remembrance in the African American community, filled with family gatherings, music and food. The recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday in 2021 brought this vibrant celebration into the broader American consciousness.

Today, it guides us toward a better, more inclusive America by offering a chance for everyone to learn and grow. The promise of Juneteenth is envisioning a future where the ideals of liberty and justice for all are fully realized.

The Miss Juneteenth Arizona Scholarship Program by South Chandler Self Help is one program making a difference in the lives of young Black women. Through workshops and community service, contestants further their knowledge of Juneteenth, their cultural heritage and current day issues. They develop skills that build their self-esteem and passion for life as well as expand career opportunities. You can support the Miss Juneteenth program by attending their annual pageant on June 14 at 6 p.m. at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Another event celebrating Juneteenth is Culture Music in the Park on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m. in Downtown Chandler. This event is made possible through partnerships with the Ready, Set, Go Foundation and South Chandler Self Help Foundation. You’ll dance to live music by Vaughn Willis & Ear Candy, indulge in delicious food and stay cool with misters onsite.

Juneteenth is a time for celebration, reflection and action. It is a day to honor the past, acknowledge the present and commit to a future where freedom, justice and equality are realities for all. Let's celebrate together and spread this message of unity and inclusiveness in our community!