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Nonprofits Celebrating Juneteenth in Detroit

“We have simply got to make people aware that none of us are free until we’re all free.” — Opal Lee

2024 marks the third year Juneteenth will be celebrated in the United States as a federal holiday, but its history stretches back much further than that. Although Abraham Lincoln ordered that slavery be abolished via the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it took until June 19, 1865 for the edict to reach Galveston Bay, Texas. There, over a quarter of a million African Americans who were still enslaved were finally freed on June 19th. The holiday gets its name from that date that fell two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued and two months after the end of the Civil War. 

In 1866, Black Freedmen in Texas began celebrating Juneteenth first as Jubilee Day. The holiday was officially recognized by Texas in 1980 and continued to grow in popularity throughout the country. As such, Juneteenth has also been commonly referred to as Black Independence Day. President Joseph Biden signed Juneteenth into law on June 17, 2021 in response to the national prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement and after years of work done by activists such as Opal Lee.

Typical Juneteenth celebrations include prayer, family gatherings, and reflection on what Martin Luther King, Jr. calls the long arc of history that bends towards justice. Nonprofits around Detroit are planning their own events to commemorate the day. SHARE Detroit partners have something for everyone to get involved with whether you are looking to contribute, educate yourself, or have fun.

On Juneteenth itself, the Black Legacy Advancement Coalition (BLAC) is running a fundraiser through Shake Shack where 25% of all sales will be donated to support BLAC’s mission. To participate, you can go to a Shake Shack location in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Livonia, or Troy and mention “Donation Day” when you order!

Also on Juneteenth, the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit will be hosting a virtual event entitled “Advocating for Black Men’s Health.” This community conversation will center on how attending to Black men’s health can lead to a more equal world for everyone. 

And if you are feeling festive, on June 21st, the ARC Detroit is hosting a dance to celebrate. Community members can attend–or volunteer!

Whenever a holiday is coming up, the SHARE Detroit events tab is a great place to keep an eye on to find opportunities to give back, learn something new, and spend time with like minded individuals!

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