This Saturday, Brooklyn will celebrate the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the emancipation of more than 250,000 slaves at the close of the Civil War.
Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day for African Americans, Juneteenth is now also a state holiday in New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo gave it the designation in 2020, amidst nationwide protests calling for racial justice.
“This new public holiday will serve as a day to recognize the achievements of the Black community, while also providing an important opportunity for self-reflection on the systemic injustices that our society still faces today,” Cuomo said at the time.
To honor and pay tribute to the importance of the day, people and organizations in Brooklyn and across the city are holding a range of celebrations and events.
12th Annual NYC Juneteenth Hybrid Family Festival
When: June 18-June 20
Where: Online, Herbert Von King Park and Restoration Amphitheatre
Starting June 18, a three-day Juneteenth celebration of music, dance, wellness, poetry, education and more will kick off for the 12th annual Juneteenth NYC Family Festival. The event will kick off virtually on Friday and will include both virtual and in-person events for the remainder of the weekend. In-person events will be held at Herbert Von King Park on Saturday and at the Bed-Stuy Restoration Amphitheater on Sunday. During the 3-day festival, attendees will enjoy live performances, workshops, family activities and showcased vendors all gathered to celebrate the achievements of the Black community. Attendees can register to receive the link to the virtual portion of the festival here.
MoCADA Soul of Brooklyn
When: June 19, 10:00am-8:00pm
Where: Fort Greene Place at Lafayette Ave.
This intimate Juneteenth gathering will celebrate freedom, community, and the diverse arts and cultures of Brooklyn’s African Diaspora. The daylong event will feature art-making activities for kids, and programs for all including wellness and dance workshops, musical performances, and special activations in partnership with local arts organizations and rising Black creatives. MoCADA has teamed up with St. James Joy Block Party to bring the celebrations to the streets with live DJ sets and lots of dancing!
Health screenings and vaccine distribution will also be available on site, provided by Brooklyn Plaza Medical Center.
The Roller Wave: Juneteenth Extravaganza
When: June 19, 4:00-8:00pm
Where: 299 Buffalo Ave., Lincoln Terrace Park
To all the skaters, dancers, and food lovers, The Roller Wave has the event for you this Juneteenth. Tickets are on sale now for the rollerskating party that will celebrate freedom with the outdoor pop-up roller disco party! The event will include food vendors, artist, dancers, and of course roller skating. To get tickets to the party, click here.
Everday People Juneteenth Parties
When: June 19-June 20
Where: June 19 at Knockdown Center, 3:00-10:00pm; June 20 at Elsewhere Space rooftop, 3:00-10:00pm
Everyday People is making its return to NYC with a two back-to-back events in celebration of Juneteenth. On Saturday, the group will host a party at the Knockdown Center followed by a second event at Elsewhere Space’s rooftop. Dancing and good music guaranteed! Click here to get your tickets, and keep in mind proof of vaccination is required for entry to both events.
Brooklyn Museum’s Juneteenth Celebration
When: June 19, 11:00am and 6:30-8:00pm
Where: Brooklyn Museum
In the morning, come together to hear music and remarks by local community leaders before Good Company Bike Club kicks off their Freedom Ride, a day-long tour of historic Brooklyn locations and landmarks relevant to the Black community. In the evening, enjoy live music, food provided by Black Chef Movement, and mindfulness with Meditating for Black Lives. All day long, stop by to share what Juneteenth means to you and have your portrait taken by Brooklyn photography collective Souls in Focus. Learn more here.
Juneteenth Father’s Day Biker Bash
When: June 19 and 20, 11:00am-7:00pm
Where: Marcy Plaza
In celebration of Juneteenth and father’s day, Brooklyn based Rockboy Baggers & Bed Stuy Gateway BID will jointly host its Juneteenth Father’s Day Biker Bash. The COVID safe event will be home to one of Brooklyn’s largest motorcycle shows and will include a display of custom made bikes, a pop up shop for biker enthusiasts, food, live music and much more. The event is spearheaded by Brooklyn’s own Jeffrey “Meatloaf” Scales, owner of Bed Stuys’ El Domolieks Upscale Grooming. In addition to being a shop owner, Meatloaf is also the founder of Rockboy Baggers motorcycle movement. A lifestyle brand he has turned into a upscale cloth line and custom made bikes.
When: June 19, 3:00-5:00pm
Where: Center for Brooklyn History, on the corner of Clinton and Pierrepont Streets
Outdoor exhibition Brooklyn Resists, which celebrates the long history of Black resistance and protest in Brooklyn, is kicking of this weekend at the Center for Brooklyn History, on the corner of Clinton and Pierrepont Streets. The event will feature remarks by NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, BPL President & CEO Linda Johnson, and historian Dr. Brian Purnell. Since the 1600s, to value Black life, Brooklynites have put their bodies on the line; promoted education as activism; turned celebration into political demonstration; formed alliances and allyship; and used images and text to portray these four themes, which are documented in the Brooklyn Resists exhibition. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.
FREEFEST at Domino Park
When: June 19, 4:00-10:00pm
Where: Domino Park
This Saturday, FREEFEST 2021 — a Juneteenth festival celebrating Black creatives and community builders — will culminate in a live festival day at Domino Park. The day will include a live marching band, a voter rights fair, roller skating and opera performances. FREEFEST is a week of virtual and in-person programming designed to uplift Black experiences through youth, community, carceral justice, LGBTQ+, and artistic voices, culminating in a Festival Celebration at Domino Park.
‘What It Feels Like’ Black Artist Showcase
When: June 19-July 4
Where: 68 Jay Street, #605, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Space Modern Furniture is hosting a pop-up art gallery showcasing emerging New York City-based Black artists, called “What it Feels Like.” The show promises to be an immersive experience highlighting the joys and sorrows of “what it feels like to be an artist, to be seen, to feel unheard or to be an artist of color in the art world today.” To make a reservation to see the show, click here.
Black Creatives & Culture Market
When: June 19 and 20
Where: City Point and Albee Square
This weekend, head to City Point and Albee Square for the Black Creatives & Culture Market. There will be cultural conversations, musical performances, an art show and a marketplace presented by DA SPOT NYC, Mastercard & City Point. The free two-day festival will highlight Black excellence, spotlight local creativity and celebrate community, with over 40 BIPOC brands.
Black Owned Bookstores Collective x GMA Book Club present a Juneteenth Celebration
When: June 19, 1:00pm
Join Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl, in conversation with Rashida Jones in a Black Owned Bookstore Collective and GMA Book Club event hosted by Café Con Libros. The Other Black Girl is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing. RSVP for Zoom Access: https://www.cafeconlibrosbk.com/event-info/author-talk-zakiya-dalila-harris-the-other-black-girl
Thrift 2 Fight
When: June 19, 10:00am-midnight
Where: 3 Dollar Bill, 260 Meserole Street, Brooklyn
Thrift 2 Fight will host their final pop-up fundraising thrift sale of the season, raising funds for Brooklyn-based organizations Reclaim Pride Coalition, Abolition Park and the Audre Lorde Project. After the pop-up sale 3 Dollar Bill there will be a community fair, vendors, silent auction and drag show “Juneteenth Bring-eth Together” with a significant portion of proceeds going to National Black Justice Coalition and G.L.I.T.Z.
The Billie Presents Nova Frontier Film Festival
When: June 19, 1:00pm
The Billie has once again partnered with the Nova Frontier Film Festival and Lab and The Laurel Channel TV to present a unique virtual edition of the acclaimed Nova Frontier Film Festival, one of the only film festivals spotlighting independent filmmakers of color from all over the world – particularly across the African Diaspora, The Middle East and Latin America. Under this year’s theme – Past, Present, Future Home – the selection of films will center around social and economic injustice, both locally and globally, exploring the idea of home, identity, belonging and the resilience of marginalized voices. Laurence Olivier Award winner and Tony Award-nominated actress Noma Dumezweni, who recently starred in the HBO hit series The Undoing, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the Opening Night of the Festival. To register for the event, click here.
When: June 18, 8:00-11:00pm
Where: The Plaza at 300 Ashland Place
651 ARTS’ Juneteenth Celebration 2021: (RE)VISION is the organization’s inaugural Juneteenth commemoration. Kicking off on Friday, June 18th, the institution will host a weekend of live in-person outdoor “silent” film screenings (it will be the first live event in over a year for the institution and headphones will be provided to registered guests) with a pre-show DJ. The festival highlights films that look through the lens of futurism and illuminate stories about the Black perspective and the Black experience in America. The theme of this first celebration centers around futurism in the spirit of moving forward in the ongoing fight for equality and justice and in a post-pandemic world. Learn more here.
Farmhouse Family Day: Celebrate Juneteenth!
When: June 19, 11:00am-3:00pm
Where: Wyckoff House Museum
Celebrate summer and commemorate Juneteenth with family at the free outdoor Family Day at Wyckoff House Museum. There will be celebrations for both Juneteenth and Caribbean Heritage Month, with a creative flag-making activity at 1:00pm. Explore the farm, play with colonial-era toys and lawn games, enjoy a scavenger hunt or bring a picnic to share with your pod. RSVP here for the event.
Juneteenth Freedom Crawl
When: June 19, 1:00-7:00pm
Where: Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights
Get a taste of Brooklyn strolling through Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights as part of the inaugural Trivia for Us Juneteenth Freedom Crawl. Guests will sample delicious food and boozy cocktails at Black-owned business, with exclusive discounts. Throughout the crawl, participants can play trivia on their mobile devices for a chance to win prizes from local vendors. In celebration of Juneteenth, the trivia game will be about Black history, Black pop culture, music, film, TV, art and science. Test your trivia knowledge and enjoy a full day of fun celebrating the emancipation of African Americans.
Cadman Park Conservancy Juneteenth Celebration
When: June 19, 12:00-4:00pm
Where: Juneteenth Grove at Cadman Plaza Park
The Cadman Park Conservancy, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Lyft are partnering for a Juneteenth celebration at the new “Juneteenth Grove” at the Cadman Plaza Park to support Black-owned businesses. The event will feature prominent speakers including Attorney General Letitia James, State Sen. Brian Benjamin, New York City Councilmembers Robert Cornegy and Farah N. Louis and Kings County Civil Court Judge Dweynie Paul. The celebration will also feature two community workout sessions, a dance performance and “Buy Black bags” featuring products and services from local Brooklyn-based Black-owned business. Attendees will be eligible for free ride credits to Cadman Plaza Park courtesy of Lyft.
And no matter what you do — don’t forget to pick up a Juneteenth Swag Box from Stuyvesant Champagne to toast the celebration!
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