Photo of a green, black and red balloon arch to recognize Juneteenth.

How you can honor Juneteenth this year

In 2022, President Eric W. Kaler announced Juneteenth would be recognized as a permanent holiday at Case Western Reserve University. The date, June 19, means much more than a day off from classes and work, however—it’s a day that honors freedom for all. 

Juneteenth pays homage to the date enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned they were freed from slavery in 1865—two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect. Today, people nationwide recognize Juneteenth with family gatherings, prayer and educational activities.

We spoke with representatives from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement to compile a few suggestions for how members of the university community can recognize the legacy and meaning behind Juneteenth—on the holiday and year round.

Check out local Black-owned businesses

This Juneteenth and throughout the year, you can support local Black business owners by visiting their establishments. Whether you grab a cup of coffee at Motiv, sit down for a meal at Zanzibar or pick up a new wardrobe staple at Our Favorite Things boutique, you’ll be supporting a local Black business owner.

Looking for even more ways to support local business owners? Be sure to stop by the university’s Black Business Expo Tuesday, June 20. Hosted by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement, the event will feature a lineup of various business owners discussing their products and services. Get more details about the expo.

Engage in local events

You can celebrate Juneteenth with the Cleveland community at one of many special events being held throughout the city. 

ThirdSpace Action Lab is hosting a series of events commemorating Juneteenth. While the festivities began June 12, they will continue through June 19. Events include an author talk by Nishani Frazier and celebration of the ThirdSpace Action Lab’s reading room, the Black is Free BBQ, and the 4th annual Runteenth and Health is Wealth Bazaar. Check out the full list of ThirdSpace Action Lab’s events for more details.

The Buckeye Summer Soul Series also will celebrate Juneteenth with entertainment, food, vendors and more Saturday, June 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at 17720 Buckeye Road. 

Poets can mark the day with Literary Cleveland’s Juneteenth Poetry Open Mic Monday, June 19, from 7 to 9 p.m. at 13002 Larchmere Blvd. Find out more about the open mic event.

Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out a list of events Cleveland 19 News created.

Visit local Black history landmarks

If you’re on campus, you don’t have to travel far to stop by a Black historical landmark. Just outside the Allen Memorial Medical Library building on the corner of Adelbert Road and Euclid Avenue, a historic marker recognizes abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ 1880s visit to the Western Reserve College campus and a nearby stop on the Underground Railroad.

But there’s plenty more to see in Cleveland. Consider visiting the African American Cultural Garden in Rockefeller Park, where a historic marker will be dedicated Monday, June 19, making the garden an official stop on the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail.

At the Baseball Heritage Museum in the old League Park, members of the community can learn about the Negro and Women’s baseball leagues. 

Learn more about Cleveland institutions that honor Black history.

Learn about anti-racism

No matter your identity, you can learn about racism and the struggles Black people have faced throughout history by reading acclaimed books on diversity, equity and inclusion. Some suggested titles include How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Already completed these titles or looking for something different? The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement has compiled a list of recommended reading

If you’re planning to purchase one of these books, consider doing so through an independent, Black-owned bookstore. The African American Literature Book Club offers a list of such bookstores.