The Y celebrates Juneteenth on June 19 by engaging in activities that commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.


What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. June 19, 1865 was the day enslaved African-Americans in the state of Texas were informed by Major General Gordan Granger in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. Since 1865, Juneteenth has largely been celebrated in the African-American community. In 2020, New York State made Juneteenth (June 19) an official state holiday, starting in 2021.

Learn more about the history of Junteenth from > 


Celebrate Juneteenth with the Y

The YMCA is honoring Juneteenth this year by making it a weeklong celebration that will focus on celebrating and educating and include activities for youth, a virtual roundtable discussion, and a film screening and discussion. See the full schedule below!

  • Tuesday: Juneteenth Youth Program Celebration Day
    • Our youth programs will incorporate special Juneteenth activities including artwork, crafts, and written pieces into their programming to celebrate and honor Juneteenth. These pieces will be shared with the broader Y community. 
  • Wednesday: Virtual Roundtable Discussion: Race & Housing Disparities
    • Join in the conversation as we work to understand the barriers to affordable housing and how homelessness and housing instability has plagued our communities, as well as the long-lasting impact on wealth-building capacity.
  • Thursday: Film Screening of The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, sponsored by the New Americans Initiative program 

Additional Ways to Celebrate Junteenth

Here are some ideas for activities to engage in:

  • Self-Educate: Educate yourself on the history of racism around the world and in America. Here are some resource examples:
    • Excerpt from the blog "Can You Hear Us Now": “How familiar are you with the American history of Black people? Now’s the perfect time to create a new reading list! One vitally critical institution you might want to become familiar with is the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYPL), located in Harlem, New York. The library boasts an extensive archive on Black history and you can access some of the archive online. The Center has just published its Black Liberation Reading List. Check it out!"
    • Visit Embrace Race, an organization dedicated to raising a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race.
  • Act: Take action to fight injustice by attending a peaceful protest, volunteering with or donating to a civil rights organization, and vote.
  • Reflect: Take care of your mental health and well-being. Exercise, meditate, connect with family/friends. Some questions to discuss might be: Why Juneteenth should be a national holiday? How can Juneteenth be included in school curriculum in an impactful way? How can my actions lead to long lasting and systemic change for a just and equitable society?