Seminars, concerts, cultural festivals for Juneteenth on Long Island
Long Islanders will celebrate Juneteenth, which honors the end of slavery in the United States, with educational seminars, concerts and cultural festivals throughout the region.
June 19, or June 19, celebrates the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas in 1865 – two months after the Civil War ended – to announce to slaves that they were free. The day, which will be observed by governments and school districts on June 20, has evolved into both a celebration and a call for racial and social justice.
Suffolk, which adopted Juneteenth as a public holiday for county employees last year, will feature works by local artists and historical exhibits in the lobby of the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge until June 24. The county will also host a virtual discussion on Friday evening about the history of the holiday and its importance to local youth.
The county’s flagship event, its Juneteenth Jubilee, will be held in the Dennison Building on June 20. The event, which is expected to be attended by state Attorney General Letitia James, will include musical performances, an awards ceremony and food trucks run by Black cooks.
“While Juneteenth has traditionally been celebrated by the African-American community, it’s important that all Americans come together to recognize what this holiday means and what it stands for,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, in a press release.
The African American Museum in Southampton will host a Juneteenth program on Friday at 6 p.m. featuring author A’Lelia Bundles, whose great-great-grandmother Madame CJ Walker was a pioneer of the Harlem Renaissance.
The Suffolk Theater in Riverhead will mark the holidays on Sunday at 7pm with a concert by Grammy-nominated artist Brian Owens, covering Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Sam Cooke. Tickets start at $49.
The city of East Hampton will mark Juneteenth Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with the official renaming of an Amagansett park after Lt. Lee A. Hayes, who lived in the area and was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black pilots. who served in World War II.
Additional June 16 celebrations include a street festival in Wyandanch and a comedy performance at the Arts Project of Cherry Grove, both on Saturday at noon, and a walking tour detailing the stories of black families in Northport on Sunday at 2 p.m. h.
Nassau will host a Juneteenth community and employee family reunion at Eisenhower Park at 4 p.m. Friday, followed by a Motown concert at 7 p.m.
County Democratic lawmakers and local civic groups will stage their June 19 celebration Sunday at 2 p.m. in Eisenhower Park. The event features local comedians, music, food and vendors.
Also Sunday at noon, Black Legacy Partners, a networking group for black business owners and artists, will hold its second annual Juneteenth Cultural Festival at the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station. The event includes African drumming, exhibits, cooking shows and live music. Free entry.
Elmont will also host its second Juneteenth celebration Saturday at 4 p.m. in the parking lot at 14 Village Ave. with shows, food and games for young children. The event is free.
The town of Hempstead, which recognizes Juneteenth as a paid holiday, will hold its celebration Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Senior Councilor Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza. The event, which has been held virtually for the past two years due to the pandemic, includes musical performances, lectures, dance and poetry readings and a flag raising.
Juneteenth became a paid holiday for state employees in 2020, and President Joe Biden signed legislation last year declaring it a paid holiday for federal employees.
In Nassau, however, it is not a paid holiday for county employees.
“It’s time for Nassau County to join neighboring municipalities that have recognized the historical significance of Juneteenth by making it a holiday for employees,” Legis said. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury), who sponsored legislation to add Juneteenth to the county’s paid vacation list.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said paid leave is being negotiated through collective bargaining with unions.
“After years of budget pressures, we should seriously consider the financial impact of another paid leave,” Blakeman said.