Published June 18th, 2021 at 11:00 AM
“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”— Coretta Scott King, author, activist and civil rights leader
On June 7, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Councilwoman Melissa Robinson and other city leaders approved an ordinance to establish June 18 as a paid holiday for city workers in honor of Juneteenth.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed into law legislation declaring a federal holiday annually on June 19, the date marking the end of slavery in the U.S.
These are two signals of many that there is a growing understanding of its importance. Community members, entrepreneurs, historians, politicians and educators continue the effort to honor the day that Black people who were enslaved were officially declared as “free.” However, the struggle to establish freedom and equality continues today, advocates and educators said.
“You have people who are protesting the same types of systemic racism … all around the world …,” said Daive Dunkley, a historian at the University of Missouri, in an interview last June with Flatland’s The Filter podcast. “(They) recognize injustices against Black (people) also (are) intersected with injustices with minorities in other countries. Juneteenth is not about an event but about a process that has yet to be fully realized.”
This year also marks 10 years since Black Archives of Mid-America-Kansas City founder Horace Peterson brought Juneteenth from Texas to Kansas City. His daughter Makeda Petterson founded, leads and curates JuneteenthKC, a nonprofit dedicated to education, celebration and also serving as a hub for resources.
Click the link for a full list of what JuneteenthKC has planned for this year’s celebration.
Black Bag Boys presents Juneteenth Kick-Off – June 18 from 7 – 11 p.m. at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road
KC Kindness’s Juneteenth Heart to Help drive-through food and personal items giveaway, on-site COVID vaccine clinic and community support day event. This event is supported by Harvesters – The Community Food Network, HappyBottoms.org, KC CARE Health Center and numerous other nonprofits.
Thank You, Black America – The Pop-Up – June 19th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 325 E. 31st St.
SOTV “Free Your Mind” Juneteenth Open House – June 19th at 10 a.m. (virtual)
Juneteenth Festival at Blue Hills Park – June 19 from noon – 9 p.m. in Independence.
JuneteenthKC 2021 Heritage Festival – June 19 from noon – 9 p.m. at 18th and Vine.
Prairie Village Juneteenth Celebration – June 19 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 7825 Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kansas.
Vicky Diaz-Camacho covers community affairs for Kansas City PBS. Catherine Hoffman covers community affairs and culture for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America.