An extensive list of 2020 Juneteenth events in the Pittsburgh area | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

An extensive list of 2020 Juneteenth events in the Pittsburgh area

Last year, Juneteenth, the June 19 celebration and commemoration the emancipation of Black enslaved people at the end of the Civil War, was designated an official holiday in Pennsylvania. The holiday has long been celebrated by Black communities across the United States to honor Black history, culture, and freedom. Because of coronavirus quarantine precautions, many of the Juneteenth events in Pittsburgh may look a little different or take place at later times this year, but there are still a number of events going on across the city and online to celebrate the holiday.

In-person events

Balloon Release Honoring the Life and Legacy of Antwon Rose II - June 19
June 19 also marks the anniversary of the death of Antwon Rose II, a Black 17-year-old shot and killed by police in 2018 in East Pittsburgh during a traffic stop. Michelle Kenney, ROC Nation, Young Black Motivated Kings & Queens, and 1Hood Media are presenting a balloon release event in honor of Rose on the morning of June 19 at 10 a.m. on Linden Avenue in East Pittsburgh.

Feed the Hood meal distribution - June 19
Join local nonprofit group Feed the Hood in distributing meals in the Mon Valley on Juneteenth. “We are calling ALL service members to join us in our meal distribution efforts,” reads a Facebook post for the event. Participants should have their own transportation and will meet in the Edgewood Giant Eagle parking lot at 2:30 p.m. before riding over to Hawkins Village in Rankin. For more information, contact [email protected].

Juneteenth Direct Action - June 19
A sit-in is planned for East Pittsburgh to commemorate the death of Antwon Rose II. This direct action is hosted by the Allegheny County Black Activist/Organizer Collective and is advertised as a celebration of Black freedom, liberation, revolution, and empowerment. The event starts at noon at the intersection of Lincoln Highway and Center Street in East Pittsburgh. Participants are told to wear masks and bring signs. End-time is to be determined.

Juneteenth celebration - June 19
TRAILS ministries church in New Brighton in Beaver County is hosting a Juneteenth celebration on June 19 at 4 p.m. It’s a family event and a potluck. The ministry will provide hot dogs, hamburgers, and water. Card games and other kid-friendly activities will occur.

A no contact car cruise will be held from 6-8 p.m. in Schenley Park, in honor of "our Queer and Trans Ancestors, loved ones, and our bold youth who are continuing the fight for our liberation." Event organizers request that attendees bring flags and decorations. The car cruise will begin at the loop at Prospect Hill, and cars are asked to drive slow.

Juneteenth in the Park - June 19
Join Project Silk for a Juneteenth celebration at Elizabeth Lake, featuring frisbee, art canvases, Black power walk, individually wrapped catering, and more. 

Wilkinsburg Strong - June 20
A gathering hosted by Sunny (aka Michele Hicks) and Chele will run from 3-7 p.m. on Sat., June 20. It will meet at Graham Field Football Stadium in Wilkinsburg. There will be food, music, information, and drinks available. "Let’s Stand Together, Wilkinsburg Strong” reads the event’s flyer.

Aliquippa’s Juneteenth Family, Food & Fun Festival - June 20
Come out, lay out, grill and have family friendly fun as we celebrate our ancestors and our freedom by uniting as one at the Juneteenth Festival in Aliquippa this Saturday, June 20 from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m, organized by Tatiana Auriel and Jalen Stith-Price. It is totally free and open to all!

In-person, later-in-the-summer events

2020 Western PA Juneteenth & Black Music Festival — Point State Park - Aug. 28-30
This festival event has been moved to August 28-30 due to coronavirus. It includes a gospel performance, Jubilee Parade, the Pittsburgh Black Music Festival, and the Martin R. Delany Fest including dance troupes, vendors, and historic acknowledgements. The event has been held annually in Pittsburgh since 2013.

Juneteenth Parade - Aug. 29
As part of the Juneteenth Festival, the parade has also been moved to August 29. This year’s parade commemorates the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment and the original Jubilee of Freemen Parade. Hosted by BMP and Stop The Violence, the parade will march from Center Avenue, Fifth Avenue and Stanwix Street into Point State Park, where the rest of the festival will take place.

Pittsburgh’s 2020 Juneteenth Black Women’s Suffrage Forum - Late August, TBD
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. This event at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater has been moved to late August, but once rescheduled, it will include a discussion honoring Black women voters. The event features a panel discussion with the Black female mayors of Braddock (Mayor Chardaé Jones), Bridgeville (Mayor Betty Copeland), Duquesne (Mayor Nikole Nesby), and Darby (Mayor Helen Thomas), Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark, and others about their experiences and the importance of the right to vote.

Wilkinsburg and Penn Hills 2020 Juneteenth & Family Cookout - Aug. 22
Also hosted by Stop The Violence PGH, this event in Mellon Park has been rescheduled to Saturday, August 22. There will be a BBQ cookoff contest, a softball tourney, and several musical performances including Kool & The Gang tribute band Hollywood Swinging and saxophonist Derek Redd.

Online Events

Reading & Conversation: Damon Young and Deesha Philyaw via White Whale Bookstore - June 19
This online reading and discussion features Black authors Damon Young and Deesha Philyaw. Young is the co-founder of VerySmartBrothas and the author of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays. Philyaw is the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Ebony, among other publications. The event is sold out, but will be livestreamed on White Whale Bookstore’s Facebook page.

Juneteenth Facebook Live Freedom Day Walk - June 19
Presented by Stop The Violence PGH, this livestreamed history walk will explore and commemorate Black historic landmarks in the city. The list of locations includes the Monongahela House, which was a former stop on the Underground Railroad; the Martin Delany Print Office, site of the publication of the first Black newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains, and the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A number of educators and historians will speak at different sites along the walk — Larry Glasco, Dr. Robert Hill, Sarah J. Martin, Rev. Dr. Johnny Monroe, Lakeshia Wolf, Samuel W Black, Charlene Foggie-Barnet, and Wali A. Jamal.

Black scientists and STEM trailblazers - June 19
Carnegie Science Center will host a Facebook Live in honor of Juneteenth, during which educators from the museum will discuss the black scientists and STEM trailblazers who inspire them. Learn about a variety of innovators, including Mae Jemison, Katherine Johnson, Leland Melvin, Oneeka Williams, Erich Jarvis, and more.

Celebrating Juneteenth and its Influence on Modern Black Activism - June 18
Virtual panel hosted by a NextGen Pennsylvania organizer, Jermaine James. Register here for the event on Thursday, June 18 from 7-8 p.m. ET. NextGen America is also calling for Juneteenth to be recognized as a national holiday with this petition.

If you have any more submissions for Juneteenth events, email [email protected].

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By Mars Johnson