Juneteenth is A Time for All to Reflect

Juneteenth was recently signed into law making it a Minnesota state holiday. On June 19 we commemorate the day slavery was outlawed in Texas on June 19, 1865 – marking the day that the final enslaved African Americans became free.

As an African American educator, this day holds special meaning. I personally reflect on my ancestors’ journey and honor their legacy to overcome challenges and rely on their resiliency to build a fulfilling life. Juneteenth is also an opportunity to learn more about the history of African Americans in our country. And, it offers a wonderful time to visit and celebrate with African American neighbors in our community the incredible accomplishments they and their ancestors have achieved.

Our equity journeys will continue to be a journey for us. However, when we have holidays like Juneteenth, we have the chance to slow down and take the time to reflect not only on our heritage but also appreciate the heritages of others.

Our Y is joining community partners for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District Juneteenth celebration on Thursday, June 15. The event begins at Xcel Energy Plaza in Minneapolis at Noon with a program and then actors in civil war uniforms leading a procession to a community gathering and reception at the Alley Project off Hennepin Avenue.

Learn more about Juneteenth through these additional suggested experiences:

The Art of Freedom: A Juneteenth Celebration - The University of Minnesota will host its second annual Juneteenth Celebration block party and commemorative march in North Minneapolis on Saturday, June 17 at Noon to 6 p.m. The theme of this free event is The Art of Freedom: Joy. Resistance. Rest.

BOB Rewards Club - Black Owned Businesses organization is hosting Juneteenth events from June 8 -19.

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board - The Park & Rec Board is hosting Juneteenth-Celebrating Freedom Day on Saturday, June 17 at Noon – 6:00 p.m. at Bethune Park on 1304 N. 10th Avenue in Minneapolis.

Soul of the Southside – Soul of the Southside is a free open street festival that celebrates Black culture and the healing power of community at The Hook and Ladder in South Minneapolis on Juneteenth Monday, June 19 starting at Noon at Under the Canopy on 3010 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis. This event will feature music, art, food, and entertainment that will nourish the soul and empower the people.

The Minnesota Orchestra - Juneteenth Festival - The Minnesota Orchestra presents a program in honor of Juneteenth with conductor André Raphel. The concert includes two works that will be heard at Orchestra Hall for the first time: Adolphus Hailstork's jubilant Three Spirituals and Duke Ellington's lively Harlem. Concert dates to choose from are Friday, June 23 at 8 p.m. or Saturday, June 24 at 2:00 p m. at Orchestra Hall on 1111 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

I hope these learning experiences are helpful. As always, we would love to hear from you and please let us know how best we can support your equity journey. We look forward to you joining us in engaging sessions held virtually on Zoom, safe in person or in a mixture of virtual and in-person settings.

Together we will build a future that is bright for everyone.

Connect with our team to discuss how we can support you.

Read past issues of the UnitedHealth Group Equity Innovation Center of Excellence Connection.