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Check out these Juneteenth events planned in Michigan this weekend

Rep. Ronnie Peterson in Ypsilanti
Colin Jackson
Michigan Public Radio Network
Michigan State Representative Ronnie Peterson (D-Ypsilanti) speaks ahead of the unveiling of a monument to the state's Black Civil War veterans.

Celebrations for Juneteenth continue to grow in Michigan, a year after it was declared a federal holiday.

Dozens of Juneteenth celebrations are taking place across the state this weekend - from poetry readings, to dances, concerts and festivals.

“That’s a dream come true for me,” said Paul Herring, who chairs the Juneteenth Committee in Flint. Herring spoke last week at a Flint City Council meeting, noting that several organizations around town are either hosting or participating in Juneteenth events this year in the city.

“We want so many options that you have to choose,” Herring said of Juneteenth in Flint. “We want Juneteenth to resound throughout the city that weekend so you can’t miss it.”

Juneteenth has been celebrated in communities nationwide for generations to mark the moment on June 19, 1865 when troops from the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform people that the Civil War was over, and slavery had been abolished. Though Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation more than a year before, confederate states such as Texas continued to allow slavery until the end of the war.

“There is really no other holiday that says America did an injustice and we stopped it,” says Sharon Brown, co-founder of the African American History and Literature Gallery in Benton Harbor. “And so Juneteenth means much more than what happened in Texas.”

Brown, also a leader of the Unified Civic Monuments Project in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, says Juneteenth is about recognizing America’s history, and the work yet to be done.

“This is America’s history,” Brown says. “And so white folks, Black folks, brown folks, yes, need to be involved in where they live, in the country that they live.”

Juneteenth events are planned in many cities across the state this weekend. Below are some highlights:

Ann Arbor

NAACP Juneteenth Celebration
June 18
10 a.m. Community Unity March
Location: Fuller Park to Wheeler Park
Noon - 6 p.m. Program and Activities
Location: Wheeler Park
More information at annarborjuneteenth.com

Battle Creek

Juneteenth Family Day Battle Creek
June 17 - June 18
Day 1: Community kickball beginning at 6 p.m. Disney’s Soul at dusk
Day 2: Health Equity Expo 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Celebration begins at 11 a.m., and includes 3-on-3 basketball tournament and live music.
Location: Claude Evans Park
300 N. Washington Ave.
More information here

Benton Harbor

Benton Harbor Juneteenth Parade & Celebration
June 18
1 - 6 p.m.
Location: City Center Park
More information here


Juneteenth Freedom Fest Weekend
June 17 - 19
Friday: 6 - 10 p.m. Rhythm and Art Block Party
Location: Eastern Market Brewing Company
Saturday: 12 - 6 p.m. Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll
Location: Livernois Avenue of Fashion
Sunday: 12 - 6 p.m. Freedom Fest
Location: Eastern Market, Sheds 5 and 6
More information at juneteenthdetroit.com

Read more: Detroit to host Juneteenth Freedom Fest

Juneteenth Jubilee Freedom Weekend
June 18 - 19
9 - 5 p.m.
Location: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
More information here.

Juneteenth & Father’s Day Celebration
June 19
1 - 5 p.m.
Location: Dequindre Cut Freight Yard
More information here


Many events throughout the city listed at flintjuneteenth.com, including:

Black Wall Street Vendor Event
June 17
3 - 6 p.m.
Location: Flint City Hall

Juneteenth Parade Flint
June 18
Location: Saginaw Street

Flint Juneteenth Concert and Fireworks Show
June 18
8 - 9:30 p.m.
Location: Rutherford Parking Ramp

Street Renaming Ceremony and Block Party
June 19
2 - 4 p.m.
Location: Intersection of Spencer & Saginaw Streets

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids African American Health Institute Juneteenth Blood Drive
June 18
9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Brown-Hutcherson Ministries
618 Jefferson Ave. SE

Baxter Juneteenth Celebration
June 18
12 - 4 p.m.
Location: Joe Taylor Park
More information here.

Dreams Take Work Juneteenth Music & Dance Festival
June 19
1 - 8 p.m.
Heartside Park
More information here.

Grand Rapids Juneteenth 2022 Celebration Dickinson Park Dunumba
June 19
Noon - 7 p.m.
Parade begins at noon. Opening ceremony begins at 1 p.m.
Location: Dickinson Buffer Park
1635 Willard St. SE
More information here


Many events listed at facebook.com/JuneteenthKzoo, including:

Black Film Fest
June 18
1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Black Women Elevated
June 18
4 - 7 p.m.
Location: The Space
320 E. Michigan Ave.

Juneteenth Celebration
June 18
12 - 5 p.m.
Location: Bronson Park

Juneteenth Gala
June 18
7 - 11 p.m.
Location: The Xperience
143 Farmers Alley

Juneteenth Celebrating Freedom
June 19
Noon - 8 p.m.
Location: Washington Square


Lansing Juneteenth Celebration
June 16 - June 18
Friday night activities 4 - 8 p.m. Saturday activities begin with a parade at 11 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m.
Location: St. Joseph Park
2125 W. Hillsdale
More information here.


Saginaw Juneteenth Freedom Day Parade
June 18
10 a.m.
Location: Washington & Janes St. to the Saginaw Zoo

Juneteenth Father’s Day Festival
June 19
1 - 6 p.m.
Morley Plaza, downtown
More information here


Various events throughout the city listed here, including:

Juneteenth Celebration
June 18
Noon - 9 p.m.
Location: 26000 Evergreen Road

Juneteenth Virtual Celebration
June 19
2 - 3 p.m.
Online. Registration information here.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.