Brooklynites Observe Juneteenth With Protests, Celebrations and Vigils

Photo by Susan De Vries

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    Brooklyn’s Juneteenth celebrations this year will be marked with special significance as a growing lists of protests are being planned in support of Black Lives Matter.

    The holiday commemorates the day when news of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. While black Brooklynites of the 19th and early 20th century often held celebrations on or near January 1 when the proclamation was officially released, by the late 20th century Juneteenth had evolved into a national, rather than just regional, celebration of African American family, freedom and achievement. Texas was the first state to declare it a public holiday in 1980. It isn’t an official holiday in New York State; it was declared a commemorative day rather than public holiday in 2004.

    george floyd memorial cadman plaza

    A family at the George Floyd memorial at Cadman Plaza earlier this month. Photo by Susan De Vries

    The list of Brooklyn protests and vigils to take place on Friday, June 19 will no doubt grow, but here are a few that are planned. For updated lists, the Instagram account justiceforgeorgenyc tracks the daily list of planned protests and highlights those that are black-led.

    Friday, June 19, 2020

    Noon – Brooklyn Museum Steps
    A peaceful march from the Brooklyn Museum to Cadman Plaza

    4 p.m. – Tillary Street and Boerum Place, Downtown Brooklyn
    Memorial for Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and other lives lost.

    4 p.m. – Irving Square Park, Bushwick
    The Bushwick Youth Coalition, Black Veterans Project, actor David Hamilton, chef Binta Diallo-Hamilton and more are hosting a celebration that will include performances, participation by black-owned businesses and resources for engagement.

    6 p.m. – Brooklyn Bridge Park
    The Break the Chains with Love March is organized by black activist Valarie Walker as a day of unity with a planned march from the park, across the Brooklyn Bridge and a stop at the African American Burial Ground before ending at City Hall.

    6:30 p.m. – Ocean and Flatbush Avenues, Prospect Lefferts Gardens
    The Black Souls Day Event will be a silent, socially distanced meditation for those who have perished. The event is free but an RSVP is required.

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