LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Friday is Juneteenth — the oldest known commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. Events this year are gaining new prominence amid protests for racial justice.
Juneteenth marks the day when Major General Gordon Granger and other Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas to tell the slaves they were free. It happened on June 19, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the United States about two and a half years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863.
Below is a list of Juneteenth festivities planed around the Las Vegas Valley:
- Juneteenth Family Reunion celebration at Craig Ranch Park Friday starting at 5 p.m. at 628 W. Craig Road. There will be live performances, a fashion showcase and more. Face masks are required. Best mask will win a prize. The celebration starts with car parade at 6 p.m. at the historical Harrison House at 1001 F. Street and ends at the park.
- Sippin Sistahz Juneteenth Jam will take place at Tropical Breeze park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1505 E. Tropical Parkway.
- Juneteenth Rally & March is planned between 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting at 953 E. Sahara Avenue. It will be hosted by Black Lives Matter.
- A large celebration is planned at Lorenzi Park from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 3343 W. Washington Ave. It’s free and open to the public. There will be live music, African dance, guest speakers, food, games for kids and more.
Some of this year’s Juneteenth events almost didn’t happen because of COVID-19 concerns
Curtis Coleman who leads the non-profit “Save Our Sons,” which is hosting the Lorenzi Park event said the theme is unity, community, and celebrating everything that binds people together.
He says this year’s celebrations have new meaning following weeks of protests against police brutality and for equality.
“Unfortunately for us as black people, we do have to have different conversations with our children. The last month, few months, it has been those conversations about trying to be safe, about the things that are going on in the world, the police brutality and how they have to conduct themselves in a different manner and just try to survive the encounter and then we can try to handle it in a different manner after that,” Curtis said.