The 13th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival - one of New York’s biggest and longest-running annual events commemorating America’s newest federal holiday – returns for a three-day celebration, kicking off virtually on Friday, June 17th and then for in-person gatherings in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 18th and Sunday, June 19th. The Juneteenth NY Festival was created in an effort to advance the economic and cultural arts in underserved communities and in support of small, Black-owned businesses. With this year’s theme spotlighting “Unity in the Black Family Unit,” the weekend will feature the best in Black culture and will include an array of live performances, exhibitions, authentic local cuisine, wellness and other family fun activities.
On Friday (June 17), the Festival launches with a day of virtual offerings including a series of panel discussions centered around building up health and wealth within the Black family and in the Black community. Panels will be led by Sun River Health, LiveOn New York, NY State of Health, the Lupus Research Alliance and other advocates, organizations and agencies in the field. Those attending virtually will also have access to a virtual photobooth, online vendors and special giveaways throughout the weekend. Attendees can register for the virtual portion of the festival at https://www.juneteenthny.com/.
The celebration continues live and in-person on Saturday (June 18) at Linden Park/Gershwin Park with Community Day featuring performances from local talent, a wide range of vendors and a Festival Food Market hosting a diverse selection of local, Black-owned restaurants. The Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty will also be on hand to host a basketball clinic including a throw contest and drills for children aged 6-17. The weekend will culminate on Sunday (June 19) with a fashion exhibition highlighting today’s hottest emerging Black designers and special guest musical performances from award-winning hit singer-songwriter and founding member of R&B duo Zhane, Renée Neufville and more.
Additionally, Juneteenth NY will host the inaugural Juneteenth NY Awards Luncheon, a red-carpet, tented awards ceremony to be held on Saturday in Gershwin Park. Inspired by the principles of Kwanzaa and in recognition of Father’s Day, the Luncheon will honor Black men across different areas and industries who have been working to make a difference in the Black community. Tickets for the Juneteenth NY Awards Luncheon are $125. Proceeds will go toward the Libation & Liberation: The Quilt Project. For more information and tickets, visit https://www.juneteenthny.com/awards.
This year’s Festival will also see the introduction of another special new component with Libation & Liberation: The Quilt Project, a multi-city community-based initiative channeling the cultural legacy of Black American textile-making. Exploring the concept of embracing grief through traditional ritual, participants will be encouraged to design a block in memory of loved ones lost to COVID-19. Each stitch will serve as a “Libation” and a guide towards a future where victims of COVID-19 are tightly bound to our collective freedom. Curated by Catherine Mbali Consulting, the project aims to cement the Juneteenth holiday as an opportunity for creative expressions of grief and mourning as well as community co-creation and storytelling.
A limited number of workshops will be offered in select cities for individuals looking to create their blocks in a communal setting. The day will include spirit-restoring practices such as artmaking, reiki, song, storytelling, and the pouring of libations. April Anue Shipp in Detroit, Michigan, Ife Felix in Brooklyn, New York, and Diane Gordon in Toledo, Ohio will each share the rich history of African American quilting and lead the workshops. Participants are encouraged to bring fabrics once worn by their loved ones, and record special messages, poems, or prayers in honor of their lives. The blocks will be constructed by partners at the Brooklyn Quilters Guild and the completed quilt will be unveiled at Prospect Park on the final day of the Festival. For those interesting in signing up to participate in Libation & Liberation: The Quilt Project, please visit https://www.juneteenthny.com/quilt.
“Since its inception 13 years ago, this Festival has grown to become New York’s signature event commemorating Juneteenth as well as a tradition within the Black community to celebrate the resilience and perseverance of our people. And from that first year to this one, we remain committed to ensuring that this event serves as a resource and a catalyst for the community to address the myriad of issues borne out of the racial inequity and inequality that Black people face in this country,” said Juneteenth NY’s Executive Director Athenia Rodney. “With Juneteenth being America’s newest federal holiday and now that we are able to return to full capacity, this year’s event is slated to be our biggest yet! We have expanded to include new initiatives and programs such as our first-ever Juneteenth NY Awards Luncheon which will celebrate Black men who are living in their purpose and Libation & Liberation: The Quilt Project which will take our footprint beyond the city, providing an opportunity for collective healing and communal unity. Our ultimate goal is to shift the narrative of the devastating impact of slavery and help our people move forward to true freedom through unity.”
The 13th Annual Juneteenth NY will be held (rain or shine). All events with the exception of the Juneteenth NY Awards Luncheon are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.
To learn more about the 13th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival, please visit: https://www.juneteenthny.com/.
Connect with us on Instagram: @JuneteenthNY; Twitter: @JuneteenthyNY; Facebook: Juneteenth Family Day
For those interested in being sponsors or participating in this year’s Festival in some capacity, please visit: https://www.juneteenthny.com/sponsor.
The 13th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival is presented by Sun River Health.
Additional support is provided by The Brooklyn Nets / New York Liberty (Official Sports Sponsors), T-Mobile (Official Mobile Sponsor), Success Academy Charter Schools, W.P. Carey Inc, Ascend Public Charter Schools, MSG Sports, and the New York State of Health.
Juneteenth - also known as “Juneteenth Independence Day” or “Freedom Day” - is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Galveston, Texas, and, more generally, the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South. The state official celebration is generally celebrated on June 19th and is now recognized as a national holiday. Juneteenth symbolically serves as a reference point from which to measure and appreciate the progress and contributions made by African-Americans to society.
About Juneteenth NY Festival.
Now in its 13th year, the Juneteenth NY Festival is one of the longest-running events commemorating Juneteenth and the preeminent celebration of the holiday in the Tri-State area. Located in Brooklyn, the first Juneteenth NY Festival was held in East New York and hosted by George Walker Jr. in 2009 with Umoja Events entrusted to carry on the Festival in 2011. The Festival was designed to celebrate and empower the Black community. Each year features a theme that seeks to educate the Black community on its history while also changing the narrative of the devastating impact of slavery.
Over the years, the Festival has grown and expanded exponentially - reaching over 5,000 attendees in 2019 and over 20,000 online attendees in 2020 during the pandemic.
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