Nearly a year after Juneteenth became a federally-recognized holiday, multiple organizations in the City of Dallas are preparing for the annual celebrations they have been hosting for decades.
Juneteenth was not federally recognized as a holiday until 2021, but communities in Texas have been celebrating it for years. Every year since 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has submitted a proclamation to recognize Juneteenth weekend. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has also written welcome letters to show her support for the past five years.
According to Dallas-Fort Worth’s Juneteenth Celebration website, celebrations for this holiday have been held across the state of Texas since 1866.
During June, a range of celebrations and festivities will be held across the City of Dallas to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. Festivities will be hosted by Unity Unlimited Inc., the Dallas MLK Center, and Dallas Southern Pride.
Unity Unlimited Inc. will be collaborating with activist Dr. Opal Lee, who is credited as the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” to host events throughout June as part of its Annual Juneteenth Fort Worth Celebration.
On June 3, the nonprofit will hold a Unity Prayer Service, followed by the Miss Juneteenth Pageant on June 4. June 10-12 is slated for Unity Unlimited’s Hoopteenth Classic basketball tournament.
Opal’s Walk For Freedom will be held on June 18. The Walk initially began as Dr. Lee’s campaign to have Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday.
Unity Unlimited’s central I Am Juneteenth Festival will also take place June 18, with Vivian Green headlining. It will be hosted at Panther Island Pavilion with more than one hundred vendors and over 12,000 people expected to attend.
The following day, June 19, the nonprofit will host a youth art competition. From June 20 to 25, Unity Unlimited is presenting the “Your Voice Unleashed” workshop on the arts and a concert for teens. Its final event on July 2 is a job, health, and education fair called “Empowering You.”
Unity Unlimited also offers a $1,000 scholarship each year, sponsored by the Juneteenth Fort Worth Committee. To learn more about Unity Unlimited’s scholarship opportunity or Juneteenth events, click here.
According to its website, Unity Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and resources that “foster unity and harmony within the community, the city, the state, the nation and the world regardless of race, culture or denomination.”
The nonprofit’s Juneteenth Fort Worth site features a quote from Dr. Lee that reads, “Juneteenth Is Not A Texas Thing. It’s Not A Black Thing. We’re Talking About Freedom For Everyone!”
The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center has partnered with LIRA Group to host the annual Juneteenth 3K Walk & Festival on June 18. A Health and Wellness Walk kicks off the event, according to the Dallas MLK Center, with a Community Festival to follow.
The festival is free to attend, with plenty of friendly-family activities and live entertainment scheduled. Participating in the Walk requires prior registration and costs $15 for an individual or $125 for a team of up to ten.
Dallas Southern Pride will be hosting Juneteenth Unity Weekend from June 16-19. The celebration will include multiple events, such as concerts, wellness visits, and a pool party. There will also be several celebrity performances, including concerts by Saucy Santana and City Girls.
“Juneteenth Unity Weekend is a celebration and representation of the many intersections and beautiful mosaics within the Black community,” Myers-Hill said. “Juneteenth is an opportunity to showcase unity and display the belief that we are all stronger together.”