AKRON, Ohio – Akron’s Juneteenth Independence Day celebration will be held June 17-19 and features educational events, festivals, a parade, a panel discussion and more at venues throughout the city.
President Joe Biden signed legislation in 2021 establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday commemorating the proclamation of the end of slavery in the United States. Akron City Council also passed a resolution last year designating June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day in Akron.
“Juneteenth Independence Day is a day of celebration and unity but also one of remembrance,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a news release. “I am honored to be able to share this day with our residents and to officially recognize it as the newest national holiday. Juneteenth offers us a prime opportunity to recommit ourselves to the work of equity, equality, and justice right here in our own community. And I encourage all Akronites to take part in one of the many celebrations and educational events happening for Juneteenth.”
Friday, June 17
Perkins Stone Mansion, 550 Copley Road, is hosting an African Migration/Juneteenth Farm event for children at 10:30 a.m. The event highlights the African American migration to Akron and Summit County. Students will be split into two groups: preschool through first grade and second through sixth grade.
Saturday, June 18
Community Talk Back: Empowering a Community will take place at 10:30 a.m. at Perkins Stone Mansion. GinaKaye Maddox, John Brown Institute Task Force chair, will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists include: Taba Aleem, Project Ujima; Bishop Samuel Hamption II, pastor of First Apostolic Faith Church; Carla Davis, member of Akron’s Racial Equity Task Force; Albert A. Bragg, Jr., director of Alpha Phi Alpha Homes; and Steve Arrington, executive director of the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center.
A Juneteenth Festival is scheduled from noon-6 p.m. at Joy Park Community Center, 825 Fuller St. The festival is hosted by Ward 5 Councilwoman Tara Mosley.
Students With a Goal is hosting a Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Summit Lake Nature Center, 411 Ira Ave. The event features guest speakers Philathia Bolton and Kwame Williams, pop-up vendors and guided canoeing on Summit Lake.
New Generation will host a Youth Juneteenth event from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Perkins Park, 899 Diagonal Road. The family-friendly event offers music and games for children of all ages, a “What is Juneteenth?” coloring contest for young children and an essay contest for older children.
The Summit County Historical Society will hold an open house for the John Brown House, 500-526 Diagonal Road, featuring “Conversations of Grace,” an exhibition curated by artist Dara Harper from noon-3 p.m.
Chef Dannika Stevenson of Sip Savor Soul will offer a soul food cooking demonstration at 12:15 p.m. at Perkins Stone Mansion.
Downtown Akron Partnership will host a Juneteenth celebration from 5-10 p.m. at Lock 3 p.m. The event starts with a ticketed dinner and community conversation from 5-6:30 p.m. Facilitators at each table will start and moderate discussions on topics such as ways to strengthen the community, achieve equity and how to encourage shared experiences among people of all incomes and backgrounds. Tickets are $10 and can be purchase online. DJ Forest “Getemgump” Webb and the Unit Band will offer a free performance from 7-10 p.m.
Sunday, June 19
The Akron Zoo, 500 Edgewood Ave., will host a Juneteenth Akron History Hike to the John Brown Monument for Juneteenth and Father’s Day guided by Dave Lieberth. The hike begins at the zoo at 9 a.m.
The 24th Annual Akron Juneteenth Festival will kick off with the West Akron Parade hosted by the Buchtel Parent-Teacher Association at noon. The parade steps off at Buchtel Community Learning Center, 1040 Copley Road, and ends at Stoner/Hawkins Park, 1201 S. Hawkins Ave. The festival is scheduled from 1-7 p.m. at Stoner/Hawkins Park. The festival features a Black business market, the Gerald R. Carter Teen Talent Show, flag football games and the West Side car show. The festival is presented by the Akron Black Coalition.
Summit Lake Nature Center will host a Juneteenth celebration from 1-4 p.m. The celebration offers crafts, food, fishing and more.
All city of Akron municipal offices will be closed on Monday, June 20 in observance of Juneteenth Independence Day.
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