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Local Juneteenth events abound, as Black freedom celebration gains traction nationally

Northeast Ohio activities include a Freedom Walk, performances, movie screenings and even a Toddler March

CLEVELAND — Juneteenth, a celebration that takes place annually on June 19 to mark the end of slavery in the U.S., is gaining more attention this year in light of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

High-profile companies such as The New York Times, Twitter, Nike and many NFL franchises have announced they will make Juneteenth a company holiday.

Numerous events are planned across Northeast Ohio this week, including Youngstown State University’s “Voices of Color in Song,” a virtual open-mic vocal performance happening on Zoom at 7 pm Wednesday June 17.   

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Local events planned for Friday include:

  • The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is inviting residents to visit Dave’s Supermarket at 1929 East 61st Street in Cleveland to register to vote and/or update their voter registrations. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Friday. Board of Elections staff will be located at the front of the store and will offer drive-thru service in the parking lot.
  • More than 300 families have RSVP’d for The Real Black Friday organization’s free Juneteenth celebration at Mayfield Drive-In starting at 8 pm. Two films will be shown, “Just Mercy” and “Black Panther,” followed by a fireworks display to celebrate black pride and liberation from slavery. Call 330-212-4121 or email laresepurnell@cleconsultingfirm.com to register.
  • A Juneteenth BLM Toddler March will be held at 11 am at Euclid Creek Metroparks. Organizer Narcisse Jordan says she created the event to provide a family-friendly environment where children can learn about black history and participate in the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • At 7 pm., Karamu House will debut “Freedom on Juneteenth,” an original performance that will stream on Facebook live, Roku, Vimeo and other platforms. Sponsored by Keybank, it will feature musicians and vocalists, spoken word artists and dancers, as they respond to the recent murders of Black Americans through their respective art forms.

And on Saturday, the NAACP Cleveland will present a Juneteenth Celebration and Freedom Walk, 11 am to 5 pm, Art and Soul Park, E. 118th St. and Buckeye, Cleveland. Activities include a drum circle, giveaways, music, resources, and vendor village.