Celebrating Juneteenth and reflecting on the necessary work still to be done
This Saturday, June 19, marks the annual celebration of Juneteenth, recognized with a state holiday here in Virginia on Friday, June 18. Juneteenth represents the first celebration of freedom among formerly enslaved Black Americans in Texas, who were informed of their freedom more than 2.5 years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
This week, the United States Senate passed a bill to recognize Juneteenth as an official national holiday. While I am grateful for this acknowledgment of the national importance of Black liberation, my enthusiasm is tempered by the dismay and disbelief I have experienced while witnessing the simultaneous efforts to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory from state history curricula across the United States. As we have discussed at length in our school, efforts to end racism that fail to begin with acknowledgment of the ways that it is woven into the fabric of our laws, policies and institutions will fall woefully short. To prohibit schools from teaching students to think critically about culturally embedded, taken-for-granted patterns of white dominance is a deeply troubling setback that the profession of social work is obligated to contest.
So, let us celebrate and remember this weekend. For those here in Virginia, I hope you will consider attending one of the many statewide events or one of the local events listed below. And then, let us renew our commitment to the collective and necessary work of confronting and dismantling anti-Blackness in our laws, our policies, our institutions and our everyday lives.
Beth Angell, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
VCU School of Social Work
Juneteenth events in the Richmond area
8-10 p.m. – Elegba Folklore Society Dogwood Dell Juneteenth Performance
Dogwood Dell Amphitheater at Byrd Park (near First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave.)
- 8 a.m.-4 p.m. – Juneteenth in the Park
Pocahontas State Park, 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield
- 9-11 a.m. – Saturday Salutations: Juneteenth Commemoration
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave.
- 9-11 a.m. – Juneteenth Celebration and 1st annual Juneteenth Pageant
Hippodrome Theater, 528 N. 2nd St.
- 9 a.m.-noon – Juneteenth at DPFM
Dorey Park Farmers Market, 2999 Darbytown Road, Henrico
- 9 a.m.-3 p.m. – Black Connections Juneteenth Expo
Military Retirees’ Club of Richmond, 2220 Chamberlayne Ave.
- 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Juneteenth: Celebrate Freedom
St. Peter’s and St. John’s Episcopal churches, 1719 N. 22nd St. and 2401 E. Broad St., respectively
- 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Juneteenth Jamboree/5K Marathon
- 838 Cary St.
- 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. – Home Care Homecoming
Bon Secours Training Center, 2401 W. Leigh St.
- Noon-3 p.m. – RISE for Youth Juneteenth Event
- Six Points Innovation Center, 3001 Meadowbridge Road
- Noon-7 p.m. – Junteenth Block Party
Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Ave.
- 1-5 p.m. – TriVegan Café Collaboration Launch
Gather-Arts District, 313 E. Broad St.
- 1-10 p.m. – Juneteenth Celebration, Henrico Recreation and Parks
Dorey Park, 2999 Darbytown Road, Henrico
- 2-5 p.m. – Richmond Chapter-Association of Black Social Workers Juneteenth Celebration
123 Evergreen Ave.
- 2-6 p.m. – Juneteenth Celebration, Freedom and Power Collective; grand opening of Children of Light Resource Center and Richmond Democracy Center
6 W. 21st St.
- 2-6 p.m. – Showlove Present: Juneteenth Jubilee in the Park
Byrd Park (the Landing at Fountain Lake), 501 S. Arthur Ashe Blvd.
- 2-8 p.m. – 4th Annual RVA Black Bar Crawl: A Juneteenth Celebration, supporting Black-owned businesses; various locations
- 4:30-8 p.m. – Juneteenth Sounds of Freedom Celebration
Hovey Field, Virginia Union University
- 6-8 p.m. – Juneteenth 2021 at the 17th Street Market
100 N. 17 St.
1-6 p.m. – Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration – 25th Anniversary, Elegba Folklore Society
- Celebrating Juneteenth In 1890 And 2021 – Library of Virginia
- Why Juneteenth? – Library of Virginia
- Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom – Library of Virginia
- Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative – Library of Virginia