#JuneteenthDay: A celebration of freedom

The Juneteenth flag where the upper half is blue and lower half is red. Colors are divided by a horizontal arch. In the center is a white star which is outlined.
The Juneteenth flag

By Cameron Aloway, Marketing & Communications Intern

Juneteenth is recognized nationally as the oldest commemoration celebrating the abolishment of slavery. Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, would not be notified of their freedom until June 19, 1865 – almost three years later.

The Juneteenth Flag

Created in 1997 by activist Ben Haith and later revised by Lisa Jeanne Graf in 2000, the flag of Juneteenth represents the liberation, achievement and advancement of African Americans. The flag is full of symbolism, from the nova starburst representing a new beginning to the arc demonstrating a new horizon and opportunities for the next generation. Learn more about the flag here.

Also referred to as African American Independence Day, Juneteenth is widely under-recognized and deeply under-celebrated in the context of the millions of Black Americans culturally impacted by the holiday. While Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth for more than 150 years, this will be only the second year the nation recognizes Juneteenth following President Biden’s official proclamation issuing the day as a federal holiday in 2021.

Here at the Cleveland Foundation, we continue to advocate for racial justice and healing. One of the guiding principles in this work is to acknowledge the history of our community – from the land to its people – to identify and eliminate systems, policies and practices promoting the oppression and discrimination of Black residents and residents of color. Our hope as we celebrate Juneteenth – a celebration of freedom  –  is that we reinforce the importance for our nation to acknowledge a more complete history that honors the experiences of all Americans. This is necessary in order to move forward as a community and a country.

The Cleveland Foundation is proud to support the events below that commemorate the Juneteenth holiday in our community. We invite you to share information on other local Juneteenth celebrations in the comments section below!

MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest

The African American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation is proud to sponsor this event.

June 18, Noon – 10 p.m.

Mall C – Downtown Cleveland


MidTown Juneteenth 2022

The African American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation is proud to sponsor this event.

June 18, Noon – 3 p.m.

Dunham Tavern Museum – 6709 Euclid Ave., Cleveland


Juneteenth Celebration “We Wear the Mask” Project

June 18, Noon – 4 p.m.

Morning Star Baptist Church – 10250 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland


Juneteenth at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens

June 18, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Cleveland Cultural Gardens

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