A look at Juneteenth celebrations happening in Flint this weekend

FLINT, Michigan — In recognition of the national holiday Juneteenth, Flint residents can expect a variety of events across the city to help bring in this year’s celebration of Black liberation. 

Juneteenth is named for June 19, 1865 which is the day troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure that enslaved people were freed, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Though it only gained federal recognition in 2021, Juneteenth has been celebrated around America for decades.

“We want to encourage everyone to participate and celebrate this holiday focused on freedom and solidarity because our ancestors wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Dr. Ladel Lewis, Flint Ward 2 council member. “Some events have a fee, but the majority of them are free to the public. Come out and get involved. There is no reason for anyone to sit at home this weekend. Get out and enjoy the festivities.”

Below is a list of upcoming community events open to the public. If we missed one, please let us know in the comments.
Friday, June 17

50th Annual "Jubilee" Juneteenth Celebration
Sloan Museum of Discovery and Longway Planetarium are partnering with the Traditional Flint Juneteenth Committee to continue celebrating Black liberation on Juneteenth. This year, the 50th Annual Jubilee will take place on June 17 between 2:00 pm-7:00 pm. ​​The event begins with a unity walk and then will have family activities like storytelling and painting and feature music, food trucks, and live performances.

The Black Wallstreet Vendor Expo
In an attempt to make the Juneteenth celebration even larger than its been in the past, The Flint Juneteenth City-Wide Coalition has a weekend of family events for the community to enjoy free of charge. The weekend's first event kicks off on Friday, June 17 with an exposition for vendors and small business owners to showcase and share their products with the community.

Paint With a Purpose (Juneteenth Edition)
To celebrate Juneteenth this year, The Office of the Second Ward will be hosting a family paint night at Paints, Chalices & Hues. All community members are invited to attend to enjoy a night of family engagement and creativity.

Two members of the Amethyst Elite Dance Company performed at the Champions Parade in Flint to celebrate Juneteenth on June 19, 2021.

Saturday, June 18

Flint Juneteenth Parade
“Juneteenth has become not only a time to commemorate Black liberation from the institution of slavery, but also a time to highlight the resilience, solidarity, and culture of the Black community,” said April Cook-Hawkins, Flint Juneteenth Coalition chair, and head organizer.

To honor the holiday, The Flint Juneteenth City-Wide Coalition’s Juneteenth Parade will take place in the University of Michigan Parking Lot (across from Rally's on 5th Ave.) to the Downtown Flat Lot. The parade will then begin traveling down Saginaw Street, then end at the Flat Lot.

Flint Juneteenth Festival
Interested vendors will also have an opportunity to showcase their goods and services at the Juneteenth Festival. The festival will be located near where the parade ends which is the downtown flat lot. It will feature music, games, and various entertainment for the family.

Juneteenth Family Fun Day Celebrations
The Friends of Berston Field House and The Flint Institute of Music have partnered to host a Juneteenth family celebration featuring music artists; Midnight Star, James Fortune, Big Daddy Kane, and RL & Q at the Berston Field House. Festival gates will open at 3:00 pm. This celebration will also have food, DJs, and kids activities for families to participate in throughout the day. 

Flint Juneteenth Fireworks Concert
Following the Juneteenth Festival, The Flint Juneteenth City-Wide Coalition will end the day on the Rutherford Parking Ramp with a live concert featuring Flint native, Mama Sol. This live concert is family-friendly and will also be followed by a firework show.

Flint's own Claressa Shields led the Juneteenth Champions Parade in Flint on June 19, 2021, and is now being honored with a street-naming this year during the Juneteenth festivities.

Sunday, June 19

Street Renaming and Block Party for Claressa Shields
To wrap up the weekend, The Flint Juneteenth City-Wide Coalition will be having a community celebration and block party to celebrate the renaming of Spencer Street to Claressa Shields Street. The champion boxer and mixed martial artist being honored serves as the perfect ending to a weekend-long celebration of Black resilience and success.
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