How and where to celebrate Juneteenth in metro Detroit

Jun 17, 2020 at 1:00 am
Drummers celebrating Detroit’s first official Juneteenth festivities last year.
Drummers celebrating Detroit’s first official Juneteenth festivities last year. Courtesy of the City of Detroit

This year's Juneteenth celebrations may look and feel a little different than those of previous years. Not only does June 19 — the day that commemorates the liberation of remaining slaves in the South — come at a time when the city is still reeling from the devastation of the coronavirus, which disproportionately affected the Black community, but this year's jubilee will be celebrated just four weeks after the death of George Floyd, who died in the custody of Minneapolis police and whose death has sparked a vibrant civil rights movement across the globe, including several weeks of marches throughout metro Detroit calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.

For many, Juneteenth is an opportunity to gather with family and community to reflect on ancestral trauma, as well as celebrate accomplishments and those many barriers the Black community has busted through with strength and resolve, and the progress we have yet to make to ensure a safe, secure, and just future for our Black brothers and sisters.

The City of Detroit's Conversations for the Culture Series and Freedom Rally

Last year marked the city of Detroit's first ever official Juneteenth celebration, and for this year, the city is launching a weeklong series of online discussions leading up to the main event: a freedom rally at Spirit Plaza. The online portion will offer a new discussion or activity each day, including topics like Juneteenth's history, Black mental health, live workout sessions with a personal trainer, Black education matters, growing the Black dollar, and criminal justice reform.

Virtual events vary and can be viewed on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. The Juneteenth Freedom Rally starts at 10 a.m. Friday, June 19 at Spirit Plaza, 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit. All programming is free and open to the public.

POC/Cosplayers for Juneteenth Celebration

For the #WakandaForever set, here's a Juneteenth celebration for you. Hosted by Cosblerd_Nation, cosplayers, and blerds (that's Black nerds) are coming together (in costume) to celebrate Juneteenth in style. People are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite POC anime, manga, or comic book characters, though Black pride gear is also welcome. There will be discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement and allyship, as well as music, games, and refreshments.

Event begins at 2 p.m.; 110 Mount Elliott St., Detroit. Event is free.

Juneteenth Block Party

In River Rouge, the Juneteenth Block Party invites attendees to celebrate with food trucks, vendors, live music, and games. Free masks, hot dogs, and refreshments will be made available for kids. The event will conclude with a unity balloon release at dusk.

Event runs from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 421 Beechwood, River Rouge. Event is free.

Juneteenth Jubilee Live!

Unlike previous years, Detroit's Juneteenth Jubilee is going online. Due to the coronavirus, the Jubilee will offer online programming, which can be viewed on the event's Facebook and Instagram pages, both informative and entertaining, to celebrate Black liberation.

Event is from 6:19 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; online. Event is free.

Juneteenth BLM March

Though Detroit Will Breathe (formerly known as the People's March) has taken to the streets every day for several weeks, the Juneteenth Black Lives Matter March will make the trek from the Fox Theatre to the Renaissance Center and will focus on restoring Black wealth by supporting Detroit's Black-owned businesses following the march. The event will also host voter registration.

Event begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 20; March begins at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Event is free and open to the public.

Juneteenth Celebration 2020

In Taylor, Juneteenth will be celebrated at Heritage Park with food, drinks, music, storytelling, and fireworks.

Event runs from 3 p.m.-8 p.m.; Heritage Park, 12111 Pardee Rd., Taylor. Event is free and open to the public.

Juneteenth 2020 and Beyond

Though the event was originally planned to take place at Palmer Park, this year's inaugural event is going digital, with donations going to support the 2021 iteration. Hosts will conduct interviews and offer community resources.

Event runs from noon-7 p.m.; Tickets are available by donation.

Detroit Book City's Juneteenth Black Author Virtual Book Fair

While Juneteenth may be an opportunity to reflect on the past and the progress needed for a more just future, it's also a time to elevate Black voices, stories, and perspectives. The Black Author Virtual Book Fair, hosted by Southfield's Detroit Book City, promises "a lively conversation every 15 minutes." The three-day online event will feature Black authors from around the world. On Friday, the fair features authors from the genres of history, novel, memoir, and poetry. Saturday's programming will highlight children's books, and Sunday's focus will include spiritual and self-help genres. Throughout the event, which will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube, there will be opportunities for author pitches, as well as live reading from indie Black authors. Those who would like to participate in the conversation are encouraged to register for the webinar via Detroit Book City's website.

Event begins on Friday, June 19 at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 20 at noon, and Sunday, June 21 at 2 p.m.; Event is free.

Juneteenth Vegan Soul BBQ Pop-up

What's a celebration without a feast? Brightmoor Artist Collective is throwing a curbside pick-up vegan soul BBQ, with a percentage of food sales going to benefit New Era Detroit, which aims to support the Black-owned economy. Meals are $15 and include one main dish (BBQ meatballs, jackfruit sliders with slaw, or chickpea "toona" sandwich), two sides (potato salad, pasta salad, candied yams, greens, baked beans), and cornbread. Desserts, which include banana puddin', lemon pound cake, and turtle brownies, will be available for $5.

Event runs from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; 22735 Fenkell St., Detroit.

Juneteenth Black Empowerment Expo

The free Black Empowerment expo highlights Black leaders who will lead discussions of the future of Black America. There will be live music, spoken-word performances, as well as vendor tables and networking opportunities. All attendees will receive a complimentary mask.

Event takes place Saturday, June 20 from 3-7 p.m.; 21300 Hilltop St., Southfield. Event is free and open to the public.

Juneteenth at Nandi's Knowledge Cafe

Nandi's Knowledge Cafe, a bookstore and art gallery in Highland Park, is working on a major renovation project, but that won't stop them from throwing a Juneteenth celebration. The event, which will accept donations to benefit the renovation, will host an open mic, music, live drumming, and dancing, as well as food and retail vendors.

Event runs from noon-8 p.m.; 71 Oakman Blvd., Highland Park; Tickets available for a suggested donation.

Inkster Juneteenth Block Party

A Juneteenth celebration is all about community connectivity, and the Inkster Juneteenth block party is bringing people together with food, music, vendors, games, and bounce houses.

Event runs from 2 -8 p.m.; Arlington Street between Cherry Hill and Mt. Vernon; Inkster. Event is free, donations are encouraged; children 12 and under eat free.

Juneteenth Outdoor Fundraiser for the Sharing Table

This Corktown tie-dye boutique and workshop space is opening its doors to host a shopping event and a DIY dye station for those wanting to dye a face mask. Folks can also purchase T-shirts to dye, with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Seward sharing table, a project launched by musician and New Center resident Kaylan Waterman. The sharing table, which accepts food donations, personal hygiene items, and other goods daily, is available to anyone in need, no questions asked. Treats will be provided by Good Stuff, and DJ Troi Mitchell will also be on-site. Additionally, there will be an open mic/spoken-word segment.

Event runs from noon-4 p.m.; Brightlytwisted, 1418 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Event is free, though items are available for purchase.

Hey Y'all Detroit's mini Liberation Juneteenth Celebration

This one's for the kids, y'all. Hey Y'all, a Detroit-based initiative dedicated to paying it forward to inner-city communities, is throwing a "mini liberation celebration" aimed toward the little ones. The event will offer free ice cream, goodie bags, and balloons.

Event runs from 4 -7 p.m.; Gorham Park, 19969 St. Mary's St., Detroit. Event is free.

Power to the People 313 Virtual Juneteenth

The revolution will be digitally televised ... for 12 hours. At least that's how the folks at Power to the People 313 are celebrating Juneteenth. The virtual event will feature workshops and performances to celebrate and empower local Black culture and tactfully acknowledge the unsung heroes of the Black community. Workshops will span spirit, health, politics, wellness, youth, economics, and Black history.

Event runs from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.;

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