Skip to content

The 5-Day Juneteenth Social Justice Journey



Day 1: Historical Significance of Juneteenth

June 19th, the day widely referred to as Juneteenth, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, or Second Independence Day, is a day for Americans to celebrate and commemorate the freedom of enslaved African Americans. The National Museum of African American History and Culture cites Juneteenth as “marking our country’s second Independence Day,” and that “the historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times.” An explanation from Juneteenth World Wide Celebration explains that “Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.”


On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation announced "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious areas "are, and henceforward shall be free." However, in regions that were still under Confederate control, the Emancipation Proclamation was not enacted and resulted in enslaved people not being freed until much later. The National Museum of African American History and Culture explains that in “the westernmost Confederate state of Texas...Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree,” and “this day came to be known as "Juneteenth," by the newly freed people in Texas.”


Juneteenth World Wide Celebration describes that while today’s Juneteenth “takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.”

Today's Challenge


Read this article from NPR to learn what Juneteenth represents and how people have celebrated it.


Read this article from BlackPast, an organization dedicated to “providing reliable information on the history of Black people across the globe,” to learn about the growth of Juneteenth and its historical significance


Watch this TED-Ed video to learn the history of Juneteenth.


Watch this video from History explaining Juneteenth and what you need to know.


Press Play on History: Juneteenth Connect songs to themes of the historical experience of African Americans and Juneteenth and create a playlist through this Learning Lab activity.

On NPR: Poet Amanda Gorman celebrates the gift of Blackness for Juneteenth


1. Now that you know some of the history of Juneteenth, what does Juneteenth mean to you personally?

2. Take some time to think about Juneteenth today, what are some aspects of celebrating Juneteenth you think others should understand?


Watch this lecture on the history of Juneteenth from historian Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott

Watch this YouTube video from The Root, “This Is Why Juneteenth Is Important for America”----

Watch this video from Columbia News explaining “What is Juneteenth?”

These articles were curated by a local committee to be used as a list of resources pertinent to DEI topics. The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Committee would like to thank and give attribution to those who created the content above, which reflects their individual perspectives. We do not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.

Day 2: Celebrating Black History and Culture

Juneteenth provides an opportunity to reflect on the rich history and culture of the Black community as well as the contributions that Black Americans have made to various fields.


In the arts, literature, and music, Black Americans have produced some of the most influential and iconic works in American history. From the poetry of Langston Hughes to the novels of Toni Morrison, from the music of Louis Armstrong to the hip-hop of Kendrick Lamar, Black artists have consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity and expression.


In sports, Black athletes have shattered records and overcome discrimination to become some of the most celebrated and beloved figures in history. From the trailblazing achievements of Jackie Robinson to the dominance of Serena Williams, Black athletes have inspired generations of fans with their skill, determination, and grace.


In science and technology, Black innovators have made groundbreaking discoveries and advancements that have changed the world. From the pioneering work of George Washington Carver in agriculture to the groundbreaking research of Mae Jemison in space exploration, Black scientists and inventors have helped to shape the modern world.


And in the fight for civil rights, Black Americans have led the way in advocating for justice, equality, and freedom. From the courage of Rosa Parks in refusing to give up her seat on a bus to the visionary leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle for racial equality, Black activists and leaders have been at the forefront of the fight for a more just and equitable society.


Juneteenth is a time to celebrate the rich history, culture, and achievements of Black Americans, and to uplift the voices, talents, and accomplishments of Black people in all fields. By recognizing and honoring the contributions of Black Americans, we can work toward a more inclusive and just society for all.


While it’s difficult to choose just one area to highlight, examining Black artists can provide a valuable lens for understanding the Black experience in our culture today. These works often offer unique perspectives on the challenges, triumphs, and complexities of Black life, and can shed light on issues such as racism, discrimination, and social inequality. By exploring the stories and experiences depicted in these works, viewers can gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of Black people in America and develop greater empathy and appreciation for the diversity of Black culture and identity. Additionally, supporting Black creators and their work can help to amplify Black voices and stories, and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive culture.

Today's Challenge


Between the World and Me – Richard Wright

Harlem – Langston Hughes

1977: Poem for Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer – June Jordan

Who Said it was Simple – Audre Lord

The World Rising – Alice Walker


Arts and Letters of the Harlem Renaissance: Crash Course Black American History #26

The Evolution of Black Representation in Film

The History of Tap Dancing

How Jordan Peele redefined Horror films forever – Inside Cinema, BBC


Lift Every Voice and Sing – James Weldon Johnson (lyrics) & J. Rosamond Johnson (music) performed by Melinda Doolittle

A Change is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

Living for the City – Stevie Wonder

Glory – Common and John Legend

Freedom – Beyonce (featuring Kendrick Lamar)


How does the work by Black artists challenge or disrupt prevailing narratives about the Black experience in our culture today?


In what ways does the art by Black artists illuminate the historical and ongoing struggles faced by Black individuals and communities?


How does the work by Black artists convey the resilience, strength, and joy present in the Black experience, despite the adversity faced?


What role does the artwork by Black artists play in promoting dialogue, empathy, and understanding across racial and cultural divides?


Here are some resources where you can learn more about Black creativity, culture, and art in America:

The National Museum of African American History and Culture – Located in Washington D.C., this museum is dedicated to telling the story of African American history and culture, including art, music, literature, and more.

The Studio Museum in Harlem – This museum is dedicated to promoting the work of artists of African descent, with a focus on contemporary art.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum – The museum’s collection includes works by many Black artists, including Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Kara Walker.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – Located in New York City, this research center is dedicated to the study and preservation of Black culture and history, including art.

These articles were curated by a local committee to be used as a list of resources pertinent to DEI topics. The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Committee would like to thank and give attribution to those who created the content above, which reflects their individual perspectives. We do not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.

Day 3: Reflection on Freedom and Equity

The struggle for freedom and equality for Black Americans has been a continuous battle throughout history. Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, serves as a poignant reminder that the fight against racism and discrimination is an ongoing process. It symbolizes the belated arrival of freedom for Black Americans and the perseverance they have demonstrated throughout history. Today we will explore the progress made since emancipation and the challenges that still persist in achieving true racial equality in contemporary society.


Since the abolition of slavery, significant progress has been made in advancing civil rights for Black Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 dismantled legal segregation and granted equal voting rights, respectively. These landmark legislations marked important milestones in the journey toward racial equality. Additionally, the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama, in 2008, symbolized the nation's progress in breaking down racial barriers.


Despite the progress achieved, significant challenges remain in the pursuit of true racial equality. Systemic racism continues to pervade various aspects of American society, including education, criminal justice, housing, and employment. Disparities in wealth and opportunity persist, perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage for many Black individuals and communities. Racial profiling, police brutality, and acts of discrimination are unfortunate realities that Black Americans face daily. Moreover, the events of recent years, such as the killings of unarmed Black individuals, have ignited widespread protests and highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive reforms.


The ongoing struggle for freedom and equality for Black Americans is a testament to their resilience and the need for continuous efforts to combat racism and discrimination. Juneteenth serves as a crucial reminder that progress has been made, but true racial equality has not yet been fully achieved. By acknowledging this history and addressing the challenges, we can strive for a more just and inclusive society.

Today's Challenge


Racial disparities in the high school graduation gender gap - The Brookings Institution

The Latest Poverty, Income, and Food Insecurity Data Reveal Continuing Racial Disparities - The Center for American Progress


ABC News' Linsey Davis speaks with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson about his new book “Unequal: A Story of America” which draws parallels between the history of racial inequity to modern events.


Cory Booker and others discuss how slavery, housing discrimination and centuries of inequality have compounded to create a racial wealth gap.


Watch this video by The Atlantic, Mass Incarceration, Visualized.


Listen to the NY Times podcast Still Processing episode, “How a Highway Divided a Community in Philadelphia


In what ways does Juneteenth serve as a reminder that the fight against racism and discrimination is an ongoing process? Reflect on the historical significance of Juneteenth and its connection to the struggle for freedom and equality for Black Americans throughout the years.


When examining the progress made since emancipation, what significant milestones and achievements stand out to you in the pursuit of racial equality? Consider legislative changes, social movements, or individual contributions that have played a role in advancing the rights and opportunities for Black Americans.


Despite the progress made, what are some of the persistent challenges that hinder the achievement of true racial equality in contemporary society? Reflect on systemic racism, disparities in education, criminal justice, employment, and other areas. How do these challenges impact the lives of Black Americans and hinder the realization of equality?


How can we, as individuals and as a society, actively contribute to the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality for Black Americans? Reflect on the role of allyship, education, and advocacy in promoting racial justice. Consider tangible steps that can be taken to address the remaining challenges and create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.


Review the Black Progress Index by the NAACP and the Brookings Institution HERE.

These articles were curated by a local committee to be used as a list of resources pertinent to DEI topics. The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Committee would like to thank and give attribution to those who created the content above, which reflects their individual perspectives. We do not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.

Day 4: Community Engagement and Empowerment


Participating in local Juneteenth events is a meaningful way to honor and commemorate an important moment in history. These events encourage community engagement and empower individuals to actively participate in Juneteenth’s history and celebration. Local Juneteenth celebrations, parades, festivals, and educational programs promote unity, cultural understanding, and social justice, as well as support and amplify the voices of Black-led organizations and community leaders working towards equity and empowerment. 

Here are a few local upcoming events to commemorate Juneteenth: 

Friday, June 16, 7 p.m. 

Sun River Health Presents- Because of Juneteenth  

Join us for a joyous Juneteenth celebration as we welcome some incredible musical performers to the stage. The evening will highlight Peekskillʼs involvement in liberation and call to mind themes of unity and love. Sun River Health shares in this joy, which binds our communities together – communities we have been honored to provide quality health care to for nearly 50 years – because excellent health care is part of what liberation means.  

Doors open at 7PM and show begins at 7:30PM

To reserve your free tickets please visit the box office, call (914) 739-0039 ext. 2, or email!  

Saturday, June 17, 12 p.m. 

Peekskill Juneteenth 

Peekskill Juneteenth is Saturday, June 17, 2023! Parade Kick-off is at 12:00pm. Main viewing streets are Brown Street and N. Division Street. Juneteenth Festival DOWNTOWN - N. Division Street - Park Street & Central Ave!  

Saturday, June 17, 12 p.m. 

Tuckahoe Juneteenth Celebration  

Main Street Park, Tuckahoe  

Sponsored by ArtsWestchester  

Join us as we celebrate this Nationally recognized holiday and fun-filled day with Music, Poetry, Speakers, Hands-on activities for all ages, vendors, and refreshments.  

Rain Location: Tuckahoe Community Center 71 Columbus Ave Tuckahoe, NY 10707 from 1pm to 5pm.  

Saturday, June 17, 12-5 p.m. 

Lewisboro Juneteenth Celebration presented by Equity For All Lewisboro  

Come celebrate Juneteenth with the Town of Lewisboro!  

The Lewisboro Town Park, 1079 Route 35, South Salem, NY  

• Jazz music 

• The Katonah Museum of Art activity + crafts  

• West African drum and dance workshop  

• Free grilled food by the Lewisboro Lions  

• Games, including Black History Bingo + Double Dutch  

• 80-foot timeline from 1619 to the present  

• Dance party with a DJ  

• Free admission!  

Rain or shine. We have tents and a pavilion next to a new playground. Come join us for the afternoon.  

Our 2023 Juneteenth kick-off event is "The Cost of Freedom: The Journey Continues."  

Saturday, June 17, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. 

Juneteenth Celebration  

Pascone Park, 638 Ashford Ave, Ardsley, NY 

Presented by The Village of Ardsley Multicultural, Diversity and Inclusion Committee  

Come enjoy Ardsley’s Juneteenth celebration with dancing, singing, a historical educational presentation, food truck, ice cream, and arts and crafts.   

More info: 

Saturday, June 17, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. 

Juneteenth: The Promises of Freedom   

Columbus Park, Van Ranst Place, Mamaroneck NY  

Presented by The 2023 Juneteenth planning committee, in partnership with the Village of Mamaroneck and OneMamaroneck, Inc.  

Join the Village of Mamaroneck for a festive celebration of our Black and African American community, with music, food, poetry, vendors, and culture, a repainting of the BLM street mural, and the annual basketball tournament!  

More Info: 

Saturday, June 17, 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.  

Juneteenth Alvin Alley’s Revelations Community Dance Workshop  

Pierson Park, 238 W Main Street, Tarrytown  

Presented by Village of Tarrytown  

Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” is the world’s most widely-seen work of modern dance. Learn excerpts from this masterpiece conducted by former Ailey company members Renee Robinson and Amos Machanic, with live music by an Ailey percussionist and selected props. Join your friends and family – all ages are welcome! Dance for a moment, and remember it for a lifetime. 

Saturday, June 17, 5 p.m. 

Celebrating Juneteenth: Jazz Concert featuring Global Jazz Community All-Star Women Band  

New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle  

This all-female ensemble, featuring Camille Gainer, Mimi Jones, Clarissa Sinceno, and Dinah Vero, will perform selections by Billy Taylor, Bobby Timmons, and others. 

Saturday, June 17, 1:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.  

12th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Day  

A.M.E. Zion Church, 1220 Park Street, Peekskill  

Presented by Peekskill Youth Bureau’s Juneteenth Committee  

Parade Kickoff at 12pm – Park Street A.M.E. Zion Church, 1220 Park Street  

Parade Route – Park Street – Brown Street to Downton Park Street to N. Division Street  

Festival Starts at 1:30pm – Downtown Park Street & N. Division Street  

Saturday, June 17, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. 

Juneteenth in the Village of Pelham  

Wolfs Lane Park  

Presented by The Village of Pelham  

Please join us for our 3rd Annual celebration and exploration of Juneteenth, a free event for all ages to enjoy a fun-filled, educational, and inspirational experience of live interactive art, drumline performance, theatrical acting, African drumming, spoken word, insightful guest speakers, live DJ, and food vendors!  

More Info: 

Sunday, June 18, 10 a.m. 

Juneteenth Church Service  

Louis Engel Waterfront Park, Ossining 

Join us for a waterfront Juneteenth Church Service   

Presented by Ossining Juneteenth Council More info:   

Sunday, June 18, 12 p.m. 

4th Annual Juneteenth Celebration  

Louis Engel Waterfront Park, Ossining  

Join us for an afternoon of culture, history, fellowship and more!  

Presented by Ossining Juneteenth Council More info:  

Sunday, June 18, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. 

Juneteenth Showcase  

Hudson Valley MOCA, 1701 Main Street Peekskill, NY 10566 Tickets are $8;

Join us as we celebrate freedom through music, theater, art, poetry and dance.  

Introducing NECS Community Choir, special appearance by Epic Theater NYC, a special word from the Peekskill NAACP President, and so much more!  

You don't want to miss this one. Registration is free, but we have limited seating, so don't forget to register on EventBrite  

Sunday, June 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Panel - Before Juneteenth: New York's Reluctance To End Slavery  

Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, 29 Warburton Ave. Yonkers, NY 10701  

Juneteenth is the celebration of the last announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery, delivered June 19, 1865 in Texas. But how did slavery end in New York? It’s complicated! Learn about how enslavement started in 17th century New Netherland, how colonial and state government moved the goalposts on emancipation for over 200 years, and how enslaved people fought for their own freedom. Join us for this engaging panel discussion with Philipse Manor Hall Site Manager Michael Lord, and NYS Parks Interpreter of African American History Lavada Nahon. Bring your questions!  

In-Person Tickets:  

Seating is limited. Call 914-965-4027 or email to reserve your spot. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, pay at the door. Tickets include museum admission. Museum open 10 am to 5 pm.  

Virtual Tickets:  

Virtual attendance via WebEx is free, but registration is required. Use the link below to register for virtual.  

Monday, June 19, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.  

Irvington Juneteenth Celebration  

Scenic Hudson Park, 29 Bridge St, Irvington 

A picnic celebration of Black music with a musical performance by VYBE4.  

Bring your own picnic (no glass bottles) and come enjoy the music. Red velvet cupcakes and pink lemonade will be on sale with proceeds going to support the work of Commemorate.  

Monday, June 19, Session: 1, 12 p.m.-2 p.m., Session: 2, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. 

Family Friendly Event New Rochelle Free Mini-Broom Making Workshops  

Children must be accompanied and monitored by a parent or guardian at all times.  

Poet’s Corner, 570 Main Street, New Rochelle  

Presented by: Jan Smith Castronuovo | Heart Within the Arts, LLC.  

An Afrocentric Art Exhibition of hand-crafted wedding brooms blending Asian & West African palm brooms, decorated with mudcloth from Mali, cowie shells & twine from Cameroon, and florals uniquely designed by New Rochelle artist Jan Smith Castronovo.  

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.  

Monday, June 19, 12 p.m. 

“The Telling: A Gathering of Remembrance”  

Star of Bethlehem Church, 304 Spring Street, Ossining  

An annual City-wide event in Montgomery, Alabama. Inspired by a Jewish Passover experience, local resident A.W. Hampton felt the desire to bring a condensed, unified history to African Americans and become active participants in telling their story and bringing you into the triumph of today.  

Presented by Ossining Juneteenth Council More info:  

Monday, June 19, 5:30 p.m. 

Juneteenth Celebration  

Bush Lyon Homestead, 479 King Street, Port Chester

Presented by Port Chester Historical Society  

Come celebrate and learn!   More Info:  

Sunday, June 25, 2 p.m.  

Dance and Drumming Performance with Amanda and the Mfoumbila for Children & Families  

White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Avenue, White Plains  

Presented by White Plains Public Library  

June 25 | 2pm | Dance and Drumming Performance with Amanda and the Mfoumbila for Children & Families  

Wednesday, June 28, 6:30 p.m. 

Afro-beats Dance Workshop for Teens & Adults  

White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Avenue, White Plains  

Presented by White Plains Public Library  

Full details here:

Day 5: Policy and Legislative Change

Juneteenth marks a very important turning point for the lives of African Americans in the United States. Immediately, there were grey areas and African Americans did not have the same opportunities or access to resources as their white counterparts. Since slavery was abolished over 155 years ago, black and brown individuals in this country still struggle to find peace and equity in “the land of the free.” On the days leading up to this important holiday, it is pivotal not only to reflect on the history of slavery, but also to look at the current standing of voter suppression, criminal justice reform, equitable education, and economic disparities in communities of color.


One critical issue that persists in the fight for racial equality is voter suppression. While progress has been made since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, discriminatory practices continue to obstruct marginalized communities from exercising their democratic rights. By supporting initiatives for fair and accessible voting procedures, we can strive for a society that upholds democratic principles and ensures equal representation for all.


Another pressing concern is the need for comprehensive criminal justice reform. The disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on communities of color is a stark reminder of the deep-seated racial inequalities that persist. Through advocacy, we can urge legislators to enact policies that address systemic biases, promote rehabilitation over punishment, and contribute to a more just society.


Equitable education is a powerful tool for dismantling systemic racism and ensuring equal opportunities for all students. The persistent disparities in educational resources, funding, and access that disproportionately affect communities of color. By advocating for policies that promote fair distribution of resources, culturally responsive curricula, and diverse representation within educational institutions, we can work towards creating an inclusive educational environment that empowers every learner and narrows the opportunity gap.


Persistent economic disparities are another crucial aspect that must be addressed to achieve true racial equality. Juneteenth can serve as a platform to advocate for policies that promote economic justice, such as equitable employment opportunities, fair wages, and entrepreneurship support for historically marginalized communities. By supporting organizations that work towards economic empowerment, fostering financial literacy, and promoting inclusive business practices, we can help create an economic landscape that provides equal access to resources and prosperity for all.


By raising awareness and advocating for policy changes focusing on systemic issues such as voter suppression, criminal justice reform, equitable education, and economic disparities, we can contribute to meaningful change. It is crucial for individuals to engage in advocacy efforts, support organizations working towards policy changes, and continue the conversation surrounding racial equality long after Juneteenth. Through collective action, we can create a future where every individual, regardless of their race, enjoys equal rights, justice, and opportunities.


How can we address these issues to build a brighter, more equitable future for everyone? On Day 5 of this Social Justice Challenge, United Way of Westchester and Putnam asks you to not only educate yourself using the resources below, but also act as an ally and support organizations working towards policy changes that promote equality and justice for all.

Today's Challenge


Article: FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Advances Equity and Opportunity for Black Americans and Communities Across the Country


Article: The Impact of Voter Suppression on Communities of Color


Article: The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons


Article: Systematic Inequality: How America's Structural Racism Helped Create the Black-White Wealth Gap


Video: Advancing Equity and Racial Justice Through the Federal Government


Video: Timeline: Voter suppression in the US from the Civil War to today


Video: Confronting anti-Black Racism Resource: Criminal Justice


Video: A conversation about the racial wealth gap—and how to address it


Podcast: Advancing Racial Equity 4.0 with Shereen Daniels


Podcast: An introduction to Criminal Justice Reform


Podcast: Berkeley Talks: ACLU leader on how voter suppression works


Podcast: The Race and Wealth podcast series




How can Juneteenth serve as an effective platform to raise awareness about systemic issues such as voter suppression, criminal justice reform, equitable education, and economic disparities?


What are some concrete policy changes and legislative initiatives that can address racial inequalities and promote social justice?


How can individuals engage in advocacy efforts to support policy changes that promote equality and justice for all?


Why is it important to support organizations working towards policy changes that promote equality and justice for all?



Thank you for participating in the 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenges and the quarterly 5-Day Social Justice Journeys. We want to hear your feedback about the series, so we can best meet your needs as we move forward.


Please complete the survey linked here.


We appreciate your participation and feedback.

These articles were curated by a local committee to be used as a list of resources pertinent to DEI topics. The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Committee would like to thank and give attribution to those who created the content above, which reflects their individual perspectives. We do not support nor endorse any advertisements associated with the above content.

The 5-Day Social Justice Journey is brought to you by

Scroll To Top