The City of Bloomington will commemorate Juneteenth on June 18 at Switchyard Park. The annual event will allow community members to celebrate the holiday with food and music from 2-7 p.m.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States, according to the City of Bloomington. It is commemorated on the anniversary of the June 19, 1865, announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.
“With Bloomington being such a transient community, and we have so many people from different places, celebrating a holiday like Juneteenth will really help build this community but also educate this community,” Shatoyia Moss, Safe and Civil City Director, said.
The City of Bloomington is partnering with the IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center for this year’s event. Carson’s BBQ will provide barbecue food, including pork, chicken, mac and cheese and more.
There will also be multiple activities and games like giant Connect Four, card games, dominoes, and face painting. The Switchyard Park amenities will also be available, including the splash pad and an open park area.
Additionally, multiple vendors and information tables will be at the event. A full list is available on the City of Bloomington event website.
Community members are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets if they prefer to sit on the lawn. People are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Community members can volunteer at the event. Volunteers will help set up, hand out food, check community members in and help clean up. The volunteer sign up is available on the the City of Bloomington event website.
“We are definitely taking as many volunteers as possible,” Moss said. “The shifts are small so the volunteers can also enjoy the festivities. We want them to be able to sit, eat, play games and jump in to music and everything.”
Moss said this event is a great opportunity for community members to come together and celebrate the holiday.
“It's just one of those things to feel good moments and even though it comes from a space of a tragic history, it's an important history that people are new to,” Moss said. “There's never a wrong time to get caught up. There's never a wrong time to learn what you didn't know.”