Juneteenth commemorates the declaration that all Black people in Galvenston, Texas were “free.” This announcement, made on June 19, 1865, came more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and is considered by Black people in the United States as “Emancipation Day”: The date is celebrated annually to commemorate the end of slavery in the country; however, last year, the State of New York announced that this date would become an official state holiday beginning in 2021. The welcome announcement has prompted additional celebrations and events throughout Westchester County.
Below is a line-up of upcoming Juneteenth programs. Check back to this page throughout the month of June for updates!
On June 1 ArtsWestchester, Westchester African American Advisory Board, White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Inc., and the Juneteenth Committees of Mount Vernon, Peekskill, Yonkers, Irvington and Haverstraw persented a kick off event for Juneteenth. This virtual program, featured lectures, music and dance, and marked the beginning of a month-long celebration of Juneteenth activities throughout the County. View the complete video here.
- New Rochelle Council on the Arts presents “Juneteenth: A Narrative of Freedom,” an exhibition in honor of the annual holiday in Rotunda Gallery at City Hall. The exhibition will be on view for the month of June.
- Studio Theater in Exhile presents “Freedom a Failed Promised,” curated by Lorraine Currelly a virtual exhibition whereby poets, actors, photographers, writers and visual artists explore the juxtaposition between the non-celebratory and celebratory.
- The Juneteenth Council in Ossining, in collaboration with the Village of Ossining, will raise the official Juneteenth flag at Market Square (corner of Main St and Spring St). The flag will be flown throughout the entire month of June to honor the freedom of formerly enslaved Africans in America, as well as the ancestors of Ossining’s black community. 9am.
- The City of White Plains will present its Juneteenth Heritage Festival, which will be held virtually. This program will have live music performances, a flag-raising ceremony and an ancestral prayer by Joseph Boykin, with Salim Ptah on drums, and more. The festival will also include past parade and festival footage. The 2021 theme, “Preserving Our Legacy”, illustrates the historical commitment of those who came before us and our determination to continue to fulfill their legacy. This event will air on Fios channel 47, Optimum channel 75 and streamed live on the White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Facebook page. 11am-1pm.
- Pelham Public Library (Pelham, NY) presents a Juneteenth Program with Artist Atiba Wilson. Wilson will present a lecture and demonstration, “We Who Believed in Freedom, Did Not Rest!,” that will discuss the participation of Blacks in the struggle for self-emancipation. Music, poetry and storytelling will be included in the presentation. 7:30-8:30pm.
- Westchester Community College will present a Juneteenth Celebration via Zoom. This celebration will feature music and discussions from multiple speakers to honor the day in 1865 when enslaved people within the states of Texas and Louisiana finally heard that they’d been freed, two months after the Civil War had ended. 11am- 1:30pm.
- Haverstraw African American Connection will raise a flag and sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on June 18, followed by a block party with music by a live band and DJ Ginny Norfleet. On June 19, the organization will have a Juneteenth celebration at 3pm at 41 Clinton Street in Haverstraw. This event will feature gospel music by Anointed Friends, Lorraine Stancil, Minister Angel Brooks and Richard Smith and Friends.
- The City of Yonkers and the Yonkers African American Heritage Committee will present its Citywide Juneteenth African Heritage Festival Weekend 2021 at Trevor Park. The festival will feature a flag-raising ceremony, worship service, live entertainment, educational symposium, kid’s activities, vendor market and food.
- Idea Committee of Bedford (Bedford, NY) will present Juneteenth: Freedom Day at Bedford Village Memorial Park. This outdoor event will discuss the history of Juneteenth and Bedford’s Black history told by members of the community, with performances by Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation and live jazz by Shirazette and Sonic Wallpaper Band. 2-4pm.
Idea Committee of Bedford is also challenging Elementary, Middle and High School students to create a poster that depicts the inventive ways African Americans advocated for, and ensured, their own freedom. Posters must be dropped off on June 5 or June 12 between 10am-3pm at Katonah Space.
- The Village of Irvington will celebrate its 2nd annual Juneteenth Celebration Rally. The event will include a panel discussion, as well as music featuring Nkumu Katalay and The Life Long Band Project.
- The LOFT LGBTQ+ Center in partnership with Newburgh LGBTQ Center to present a panel of Black LGBTQ+ national leaders and changemakers who will be discussing paths to queer BIPOC liberation in honor of the Juneteenth holiday. 6pm via ZOOM, register here.
- The City of Mount Vernon will celebrate Juneteenth with a day of activities. Families and children will be able to play an interdepartmental Negro League game of baseball. The event will culminate with an in-person concert in Brush Park.
- Music Conservatory of Westchester will present a Juneteenth Celebration Concert. The concert will feature music by prominent composers, such as Adophus Hailstork and Herbie Hancock, performed by the school’s faculty, followed by a Q&A session with the performers. While the concert will have limited in-person seating available in the Conservatory’s Recital Hall, it will also be livestreamed. 7pm.
- The City of New Rochelle, in partnership with The Lincoln Park Conservancy, Inc., will present “Passion and Perseverance,” a community Juneteenth celebration 9am-9pm at multiple venues around the City. The celebration will include African dance performances, history presentations, films, jazz performances, dance, spoken word and more. A ceremonial flag raising will take place at City Hall (12-2pm), followed by family-friendly activities, such as a scavenger hunt and crafts at the Thomas Paine Cottage (3-6pm).
- The Juneteenth Council in Ossining, in collaboration with the Town of Ossining, will also host its second annual Juneteenth celebration at the Ossining Riverfront. The will feature spoken word, dance and musical performances. 12pm.
- Pascone Park (Ardsley, NY), June Archer and Eleven28 Entertainment present, Juneteenth Music Festival in the Park | 6pm Welcome and 7pm Showtime. Music by Karl Browne’s Smooth Improvisation and DJ K-OTIC. (free tickets www.junefest.eventbrite.com)
- The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau will host a Juneteenth Freedom Day at Depew Park. The event will include music, spoken word, dance, freedom tributes and production by New Era Creative Space. 1-3pm.
- Peekskill NAACP will present a virtual Juneteenth Celebration via the organization’s YouTube page. This livestreamed event will celebrate the area’s matriarchs with songs of freedom. 6pm.
- The Picture House (Pelham) celebrates Juneteenth with a free program of short films for families meant to educate and inspire. This 20-minute program will play in the Main Hall every half-hour beginning at 1pm with the final screening at 4pm. Drop in for some popcorn and a seat in our air conditioned theater and learn what the Juneteenth holiday is all about!
- Wolfs Lane Park (Pelham):
- 1-3pm Sculpture Dedication and PHMS Student Art Exhibit. Pelham Art Center will dedicate the “Conversation Sculpture” with speakers Charlotte Mouquin, artist Mus Hixon and Mayor Chance Mullen. Local Student Artists from PMHS will be creating work followed by speakers Mayor Mullen and Emlyn Taveras.
- 3-5pm Speakers and perfromance by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo and Afrikan Healing Circle
- 5-7pm Celebration and Community with DJ Stephen Byfield! The community is invited to bring picnics and food from surrounding restaurants and join together to eat and celebrate the holiday.
- Hudson River Museum. Juneteenth and Father’s Day Batik Workshop. Be inspired by the two quilt exhibitions on view at the HRM and learn the art and craft of batik, a fabric decorating technique used to make traditional African and contemporary Africa-inspired clothing and homegoods. Make your own quilt squares, adorned with decorative and evocative Adinkra symbols that represent concepts. Artist Kay Douglas brings the community together to practice a non-traditional batiking method using glue, fabric, and dye, to create a community quilt celebrating Juneteenth . . . and the dads in our lives! 1-4pm | HRM Courtyard | Free with General Admission. More info.