OKC Prepares For Its First Juneteenth Celebration

Friday, June 18th 2021, 8:16 am
By: Jordan Dafnis


Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday. 

Federal employees at Tinker Air Force Base and across Oklahoma City are staying home with their families on Friday to commemorate Juneteenth, which falls on Saturday.

"By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history and celebrate progress," Biden said.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, U.S. Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and proclaimed all slaves were free.

For the first time in Oklahoma City, Juneteenth on the East is happening Saturday near Northeast 23rd and Kelham Avenue. Organizers said it's a part of a bigger effort to revitalize this area.

"We've been kind of gaining momentum here on this street for the past couple of years. I want to be able to have something that we can kind of give back to the community, so the community can come," said Jabee Williams, a rapper and community activist from the east side of Oklahoma City.

Jabee Williams said one of the goals is to help people realize the significance of this day and to celebrate it just as much as other holidays like Independence day.

Juneteenth on the East starts at 3 p.m. Saturday and runs until 9 p.m.

There will be three stages for performances.

It's a family-friendly environment with a kid's area and the Thunder reading bus will be there.

News 9 will also be at the Juneteenth celebration from 3 to 6 p.m. next to the kid's zone.

News 9 will be taking donations for the With Love Project, a nonprofit designed to bring public art to Northeast Oklahoma City.