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A guide to this year's best Juneteenth events in NYC

Commemorate and celebrate the ending of slavery in the U.S. with these jubilant events.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late 1800s, but last year, the holiday garnered renewed attention as Black Lives Matter demonstrators called (and still call) for meaningful policy changes following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers.

For the first time last year, New York City had its first-ever Juneteenth March on City Hall, and Juneteenth became an official NYC and New York State holiday.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the celebration and commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought news to Galveston, Texas that the war was over and slaves were free (this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.) The celebration was coined "Juneteenth" and became a time for praying and for gathering with family. It became massively celebrated in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date, according to

When does it happen this year?

June 19 is on Saturday this year.

How is it celebrated?

The day, which still isn't an official national holiday, has been celebrated more in Southern states with rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball, with a focus on education and self improvement.

Las year, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making it a holiday for state employees and promised to advance legislation to make it an official state holiday.

New York City has so many ways to celebrate this year. Scroll down to see what these are.

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The best Juneteenth events in NYC

Integral Yoga New York is celebrating Juneteenth with a BIPOC-led "Dreamwalk of Liberation," a workshop of floor-based yoga and self-massage accompanied by live cello on June 19 at 7pm. This leads into a guided meditation for personal and community healing. A sound bath of gongs, chimes, and singing bowls amplify intentions and yoga will work to free minds from unconscious biases that are at the root of systemic racism. Everyone is welcome. Jump on YouTube Live after registering at least 30 minutes in advance. The link to access the program will be emailed to you shortly before the program start time. Tickets are $25.


Experience Harlem is kicking off its 15th anniversary with a special summer Juneteenth edition of its successful event series highlighting Harlem’s Black-owned businesses. It'll start with cocktails and conversations at Ristorante Settepani on June 18 and continue at select restaurants and businesses across Harlem, which you can find here. It will also launch the 2021 guide to Black Harlem with a curated list of Black-owned Harlem retail and restaurants.

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