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Celebrating Black freedom

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If you are looking for a place to celebrate Juneteenth with your friends and family, Indianapolis is the place to be. With several events happening throughout Juneteenth weekend, you are sure to create memorable moments while honoring Black history with your community.

Juneteenth, also known as Jubilee Day, celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. While the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery in 1863, many of the Confederate states did not recognize it and continued enforcing slavery.

It was not until June 19, 1865, that slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom. And when they were told of their freedom, they celebrated and created the holiday, Juneteenth, which we continue to celebrate in honor of Black freedom.

Whether you want to participate in a virtual 5K run, enjoy authentic soul food, listen to live music, go to a parade or attend a virtual book fair, there are many different events and options to choose from.

Spoken Word Wednesday: Juneteenth Celebration will focus on Black poets, artists and businesses. Starting at 7 p.m. June 16, Patrice Stokes will perform some of her spoken word poetry while the artist, Zonté will perform his song “Keeping it Black,” at the House of Soul, Carmel.

“Juneteenth is our independence,” said Lamont Stokes, Speak On It Media producer, organizer of the event and Patrice’s husband. “This event is to bring awareness to Juneteenth. We get to teach them about what it is.”

Activities such as parade, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and games will be at Riverside Park from noon to 6 p.m. June 19. Food trucks and live entertainment will also be featured.

At 5 p.m. on Juneteenth, The Robert Randolph Foundation will host a national livestreamed Juneteenth Unity Fest with performances by India.Arie, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aloe Blacc and Robert Randolph. You can watch the event live at Juneteenthunityfest.com.

Want to celebrate Father’s Day while also celebrating Juneteenth? From 6 to 10 p.m. June 19, you can take your father to the Madam Walker Legacy Center for the Juneteenth Southern Soul Father’s Day Celebration.

If you just want to enjoy a nice meal and hear live music with some close friends and family, Indy Night Market starts its three-part series on Juneteenth. This kickoff to the series celebrates Indianapolis’ culture and Juneteenth through local Black artists, chefs and restaurants at Pan Am Plaza. For more information on this event, visit IndyNightMarket.org.

“Juneteenth represents our freedom, our pride,” said Antione McNear, the bar manager at House of Soul. “I think that’s why we’re celebrating it more and more.”

Contact staff writer Abriana Herron at 317-924-5243. Follow her on Twitter @Abri_onyai.

Celebrate Juneteenth

  • June 18
  • 5-9:30 p.m. — Voices Corp Juneteenth, celebration includes live music and food from local vendors, 1415 Shelby St.
  • 5-7:30 p.m. — Martin University Juneteenth program includes the official launch of Martin’s National Center for Racial Equaity and Inclusion, virtual and at Martin University, 2186 Sherman Drive.
  • 6-8 p.m. — Center for Black Literature & Culture Virtual Book Fest. This program will spotlight several local authors such as Brandon Warren, Januarie York and Andrew Bowman, visit attendindypl.org.
  • 7:30-11:30 p.m. — Juneteenth Weekend at The Jazz Kitchen performer is SleepyNap Vibes (two-night event), 5377 N. College Ave.
  • June 19
  • Noon — Juneteenth Virtual 5K Walk/Run/Bike. This annual run is a health initiative celebrating Black freedom, 7840 W 56th St.
  • Noon-3 p.m. — BikeTeenth is a health initiative to unify the Black community for Juneteenth, Central Christian Center, 701 N. Delaware St. Register at biketeenthindy.com.
  • Noon-6 p.m. — Riverside Park Juneteenth parade, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, live entertainment, food and games, Riverside Park near shelter #5
  • Noon-8 p.m. — Harrison Center’s Annual Independent Music + Art Festival. A free day-long festival highlighting local and regional artist, musicians, food vendors and crafters in Old Northside neighborhood.
  • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Juneteenth Jamboree will have live performances, activities, giveaways and an artist showcase, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 N. Meridian St.
  • 11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Grand reopening and Juneteenth Celebration will have door prizes, free food boxes and community vendors, Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center, 2990 W. 71st St.
  • 2-6 p.m. — Father’s Day and Juneteenth Celebration featuring clothes and jewelry vendors, Just Wingin’ It, 7834 Michigan Road.
  • 4-9 p.m. — Juneteenth Jubilee will celebrate Black culture through local musicians, poets, dancers, singers and artists, Arts for Lawrence, 8920 Otis Ave.
  • 7:30-11:30 p.m. Juneteenth Weekend — The Jazz Kitchen performer is SleepyNap Vibes (two-night event), 5377 N. College Ave.
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