Happy Juneteenth America!
Also known as Freedom Day, (and enough names to be considered a member of the Wu Tang Clan), Juneteenth is a celebration that essentially marks the official end of Slavery and the recognition of the Emancipation Proclamation by the State of Texas. The name comes from the date June nineteenth.
From 1776 to the first Juneteenth on June 19, 1865 all the way to today in 2021, the Black Community’s cultural mark in this country has come from our bodies, our minds, and our souls. It has left the marks of courage, creativity, perseverance, “stick-to-itiveness,” and the deep thirst for liberty that are all very American values.
On Juneteenth we celebrate our struggle for total freedom and the long way that we have come in its pursuit. We remind ourselves that we are indeed free. We must remind ourselves because slavery was never completely abolished. It was concealed and rebranded. Racism, discrimination, exploitation, and violent disregard for our wellbeing, and the hatred for our merely existing, are all battles that we continue to fight in the war against unrighteousness.
Today we battle the relationship between master and slave daily, inwardly and outwardly. We continue to fight the external environmental racism within our society, and we fight racism within our own minds, which has been deeply ingrained over hundreds of years.
Alas, Juneteenth is a celebration so let’s get on down. This Jubilee in Cleveland is being led by several organizations. Karamu House, along with Downtown Cleveland Alliance and Ingenuity Cleveland, are presenting Cleveland’s first official Juneteenth Freedom Fest.
Karamu House, the over 100-year-old performing arts center, has the distinction of being the oldest producing African American theatre in the entire nation. Over the years it has steadily staged productions like Black Nativity, Langston Hughes’ reimagined holiday classic about the birth of Jesus Christ. More recently, Karamu’s comeback story could best be described as a phoenix rising from its own ashes.
In June 2021, after a global pandemic, it is only fitting that Karamu House would be among the groups organizing Cleveland’s Juneteenth Celebration. With Ingenuity Cleveland and Downtown Cleveland Alliance involved, the event is sure to be incredibly immersive, fun, and well organized.
The festivities include live music, interactive visual art demonstrations, vendors, food, and refreshments. For more information about this Celebration on Saturday, June 19, 2021 visit www.juneteenthcle.com
The Cleveland Observer wishes you all a Happy Freedom Day.