By Kamiyah Burks
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is preparing for the in-person return of their annual Juneteenth Celebration. This free event will be held on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Birmingham Civil Rights District.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the emancipation of enslaved people. The name “Juneteenth” is a portmanteau or combination of the words “June” and “Nineteenth”, which, in the year 1865, is the date on which General Gordan Granger of the Union Army announced freedom from slavery in Texas. Alabama recognized Juneteenth as a holiday in 2011 and is now one of the 47 states and Washington, D.C. that observe the holiday in the United States.
“The commemoration will be a day-long festival of heritage and culture celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in America,” said the BCRI in a Facebook post.
At this year’s celebration there will be an abundance of local vendors, music and food as well as free COVID-19 vaccinations, HIV and sickle cell screenings.
Black Voters Matter, an organization whose goal is to increase power in marginalized communities, will visit on its Freedom Ride for Voting Rights bus tour to offer voter registration and resources. Kids can visit the Children’s Crusade Corner provided by the BCRI.
This will kick off their upcoming Freedom Ride for Voting Rights campaign for the 60-year anniversary of the original 1961 Freedom Ride.
“Every bill to suppress votes, criminalize protests and weaken Black power is a reminder of the enduring history of slavery in this country. But we are launching this Freedom Ride for Voting Rights on Juneteenth alongside local and national partners to show voters, communities and elected officials of how far we’ve come and remind them what Black power can do,” said Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter.
There will also be special events for members of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. One of these is a private members-only brunch with the founding president of the BCRI, Odessa Woolfolk.
Both adults and children of all ages are encouraged to come out and experience the festivities while appreciating the culture and heritage of the emancipated people in America.