Though the Emancipation Proclamation declared slaves to be free in January 1863, enforcement and acknowledgement was inconsistent and slow to spread. It wasn't until June 19, 1865 that enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas learned they were free. Now, Juneteenth is celebrated annually on that date to commemorate the official end of slavery in the United States.

As part of Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission's commitment to be more aware and inclusive of diverse audiences and causes, we're taking the day to reflect on the importance of the holiday. Though July 4 celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that did not mean independence for every American. American history is important, but we recognize that it does not always celebrate of the past of our entire community. This year, we will use the time to honor the history of our African American colleagues and friends, and we invite our entire community to join. 

You can learn more about the history of Juneteenth here, and we've rounded up a list of events taking place around the community to commemorate the day. 

Juneteenth Festival: Celebrating Freedom

12 p.m. | June 19
Head to the King Arts Complex for a free festival featuring food, vendors and art in celebration of Juneteenth. The four-acre space, including Mayme Moore Park, allows for plenty of social distancing and safe celebrating. 

Juneteenth Love & Light BBQ

4 p.m. | June 19
Celebrate the liberation of American slaves with a march from City Hall to a community cookout a Goodale Park. Barbecue will begin at 5:30 p.m., and attendees are invited to bring their own meal setup or pick something up on site. More information on the rally can be found here

Pride March to Commemorate Juneteenth

6 p.m. | June 19
Join Black Out & Proud for a march to honor the African American community's plight for freedom and help lift the voices speaking out for justice, equality, equity and liberation for all Black people. The march will start at CPD headquarters and end at MPACC (925 Mt. Vernon Ave.).

If you can't make it in person, order a "Heart of Pride" magnet or window cling from Stonewall Columbus and all proceeds will benefit Black Out & Proud.

Stonewall Columbus Buy Black Market

11 a.m. | June 20
Stonewall Columbus will host a pop-up market for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Columbus, as well as hold space for community organizations to share resources along with space for programming to include discussions led by our Black LGBTQ+ community.

We Are Maroon: Juneteenth at The BoxPark

11:30 a.m. | June 20
Maroons made up varied communities of free African people in the west. Join Marroon Arts Group to commemorate Juneteenth at The BoxPark with painting for kids, live performances of poetry, music and move, DIY yard sign creation and more.

LGBTQ+ Unity March

12 p.m. | June 21
The LGBTQ+ Unity March on Columbus for Black Lives will begin at the Ohio Statehouse and end at Stonewall Columbus, where there will be a safe space for people to come together as a community and learn more about resources available from various community organizations along with free mental health and stress reduction services on-site. 

Bakers Against Racism

Throughout the Weekend
Often, when there are causes that needed funding, people turn to bake sales. Earlier this month, many Columbus bakeries participated in a worldwide virtual bake sale to raise money to support radical change against racism. Now, Pistacia Vera, Jenny Bakes, Dough Mama, The Baker's Rack and Hearth Bakery are having another #BakersAgainstRacism Fundraiser for various causes the support the African American Community in honor of Juneteenth. Find out what they're offering here.

Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Robinson’s House and Journals​

Save the Date | 2021
Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson was an artist from Columbus who grew up in Poindexter Village, one of the country's first federally funded metropolitan housing developments. Her diverse body of work ranges from drawings and woodcuts to complex sculptures made from natural and synthetic materials, such as twigs, carved leather, music boxes, and "hogmawg," her own material composed of mud, grease, dyes, and glue, and her works contain "the idea and symbols of Africa—as a reservoir of culture, as the abode of spirits and inspiration for form and meanings that have traversed the great transatlantic African Diaspora to the Americas." Upon her death in 2015, she bequeathed her entire estate to the Columbus Museum of Art, and opening in 2021, Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals will be the first major exhibition of the artist’s work since her death and a celebration of Robinson’s work, vision and the home, and neighborhood she cherished.