Since 1865, Juneteenth has been a date of recognition commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States. But as of this week, Juneteenth is officially a Federal holiday.
The Senate passed the measure this week with no debate, and the House approved the measure on Wednesday by a strong majority, with just 14 Republicans voting no. This cleared the way for President Biden to sign the legislation which goes into effect immediately.
Governor Mike DeWine followed this up by appointing Juneteenth as a state holiday.
With these holidays being recognized immediately, both State and Federal workers are observing the holiday today, June 18, since June 19 falls on a weekend.
In Butler County, there are multiple celebrations that residents can participate in. Hamilton’s Juneteenth Celebration takes place from 12-7pm on Saturday at the Booker T. Washington Community Center. Free food is available from 12-2, and there will be retail vendors, food for sale, DJs, and more.
Middletown celebrates with two events. The First Annual Juneteenth Cookout will be Saturday from 12-7 behind the Robert “Sonny” Hill Jr. Community Center. In addition to food, music, vendors and a bounce house for kids, there will be community health screening from 3-5 and a remembrance and celebration to honor those lost during the Covid pandemic.
Community members can also stop by New Era Baptish Church from 11am-1pm for a cookout, music and crafts.
Miami University will also be closing the campus at 2:00 on Friday afternoon and offering a “Teach-In” with a pre-recorded lecture about the meaning on Juneteenth, available online via Miami University’s YouTube channel (released at 2:00pm). After the lecture, there is a question and answer period with Dr. Rodney Coates for the University community.
While Juneteenth is a day for Black people to celebrate freedom, this can also be a day for allies to celebrate by reflection. For more resources on this holiday, we encourage you to visit these articles: