Juneteenth Block Party returns June 18

Although June 19 marks the official federal U.S. holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, June 18 will be a celebratory day in Midland. Not only is it Father’s Day, but it’s also the Juneteenth Block Party at Creative 360 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Juneteenth activities include food and dancing.
Alysia Christy, director of community impact at the Midland Area Community Foundation says the Juneteenth celebration event is a team effort, made possible by many active volunteers and partnering nonprofits and supporting organizations. 

“This is a completely community-based group that has come together through many sectors and systems, to amplify the Juneteenth holiday,” Christy says. “It’s truly a collective effort to bring this to Midland.”
“We feel that creating an event around this holiday helps to celebrate, reflect, and also educate our community.”

As part of its vision to be an inclusive community, the Cultural Awareness Committee’s subcommittee is planning the Juneteenth event to be a welcoming one for all. 

“We want there to be authentic education and learning within the community as it relates to the Juneteenth holiday, and how it has impacted our neighbors and our community in Midland county,” Christy says. “We feel that creating an event around this holiday helps to celebrate, reflect, and also educate our community.”

2022 marked the first year of the annual event, which was well-attended, says Christy. “It felt like there was an energy for culturally-significant events to be facilitated and planned for our community. Our community showed up, we had over 300 people at the first block party. It was a super diverse and energetic group that came. There is a desire in Midland county for people to experience events, programs, and initiatives that broaden their awareness of cultural and historical learning, and also engage in a sense of belonging across these events.”
Juneteenth Block Party features food and fellowship.
The planning committee hopes to see even more in attendance at this year’s event. Activities include food, dancing, music, free axe throwing, and more. All are welcome, and there is no registration required. 

Nikita Murry, co-chair of the Juneteenth Block Party Committee, says the inaugural event exceeded expectations, and hopes the event can grow to one where everyone celebrates.

“It is important to create and maintain this celebration because it is a significant part of our shared history as Americans,” Murray says. So, in the same way that we tell the stories of those who served when we commemorate Memorial Day, or the founding of this country during July 4, and the great history of this community with River Days, we are intentional in remembering the date in which all enslaved people were free from that system.”

Event sponsors include Midland Area Youth Action Council, Midland Area Cultural Awareness Coalition, The Breaking Bread Village, Dow, Wildfire Credit Union, Isabella Bank, Creative 360, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland. 

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.