Eau Claire's Juneteenth celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. June 19 at Carson Park's Pine Pavilion.
The event will bring together area residents to celebrate their commitment toward a more united community enriched by its diversity. The event also will include food, music, activities for children and guest speakers.
Keynote speakers will be Dr. David Shi, noted national expert on diversity and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and State Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire. The theme is the 14th Amendment. This year's musical guest will be Irie Sol.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions join together to acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society.
The Uniting Bridges Organization is the organizer of the Juneteenth celebration. The UW-Eau Claire Chancellor's and Affirmative Action offices, Chippewa Valley Technical College Diversity Resources and the city of Eau Claire are the main sponsors of the Juneteenth celebration, along with various co-sponsors.