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Celebrating Freedom: Juneteenth Events in Northwest Arkansas

Juneteenth is an opportunity to honor an important milestone in American history and celebrate the triumph of freedom. Juneteenth stands as a reminder of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. This significant occasion holds great relevance not only on a national level but also within our area. In this blog, we invite you to learn about and engage with the multiple Juneteenth events happening throughout Northwest Arkansas.

In June of 1865, over two months after the Civil War officially ended, the news finally reached enslaved African Americans in Texas. Over the course of history, Juneteenth has stood as a way to honor the struggles and triumphs for those who fought for freedom and equality. While Juneteenth has been a regionally and locally celebrated holiday for decades, it has only been recognized as a culturally and historically significant federal holiday as of 2021. It’s a reminder of the path that we’ve traveled to create a more just society. 

Here are some events to celebrate in our community.

Juneteenth: A Community Conversation – Tuesday, June 13th, 6-6:45pm

EngageNWA is partnering with Music Moves, Springdale Public Library and the Bentonville Film Festival on a virtual community conversation about Juneteenth. Please join us for an engaging discussion on the historical significance of Juneteenth and learn about ways to honor and celebrate this American holiday in NWA.

Dr. Rickey Booker will provide a comprehensive exploration of Juneteenth’s history. His insights will illuminate the emancipation journey and its impact on our society.

Monica Kumar will moderate a panel discussion featuring the following individuals:

  • Pastor Steve Dixon, Christian Life Cathedral
  • Anthony Ball, Music Moves
  • Tanya Evans, Springdale Public Library

Together, they will discuss ways to foster equity within our region and discuss actionable steps to honor and celebrate Juneteenth now and into the future. 

For more information and the link to join, go here

3rd Annual Freedom Festival – Saturday, June 17th

Join us at the 3rd Annual Freedom Festival, the grandest Juneteenth celebration in the state, taking place on June 17, 2023, at Shiloh Square in Downtown Springdale.

This highly anticipated event is open to all and completely free of charge. Prepare yourself for a day brimming with diverse entertainment options, delectable food, captivating vendors, and a dedicated kid’s zone, ensuring a delightful experience for attendees of all ages.

The Freedom Festival proudly presents an impressive lineup of musical performances that cater to a wide range of tastes. From the rhythms of Hip Hop, Rap, Funk, and Gospel, to the cherished local favorites, our stage will come alive with a variety of extraordinary acts.

Additionally, we are thrilled to present a unique fashion show experience, featuring the remarkable designs of Korto Momolu, recently announced as an All Star on Project Runway. Be prepared to be awestruck by the visionary artistry and style that will grace the runway.

The 3rd Annual Freedom Festival promises a momentous gathering, paying homage to the significance of Juneteenth, while providing an unforgettable day of celebration and unity. For more information, go here.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Music Moves Present: Juneteenth Celebration at Crystal Bridges – Saturday, June 24th

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Music Moves are teaming up for an incredible Juneteenth celebration, and you won’t want to miss it! The highlight of the night will be the captivating performance by the multi-talented artist and activist, Branjae.

Branjae is a force to be reckoned with, embodying the essence of Black American music. As an artist, activist, dancer, singer, and actress, she fearlessly expresses herself through her music, inspiring listeners to embrace their true selves. With her deep, thought-provoking lyrics, dynamic theatrical performances, and genre-fluid style, Branjae brings a uniqueness to her music that sets her apart.

Her talent has been recognized through numerous accolades, including being named Best Female Artist at the Black Wall Street Music Awards and winning multiple awards at the Tulsa Vybez Awards, including Best Female Artist, Artist Of The Year, and Record Of The Year. Branjae’s work has also gained international acclaim, with her short films, Street Light and Free Facts, being featured in prominent publications like Billboard Magazine and AfroPunk. These films have been screened in various cities worldwide, from Toronto to Sydney, showcasing her artistry on a global stage.

Looking for other businesses to support to celebrate Juneteenth? Check out the entire Northwest Arkansas Diversity Resource Guide for an extensive list!