Mayor Horrigan And The City Of Akron Recognize June 19 As Juneteenth Independence Day
Akron, Ohio, June 19, 2021 — On Monday June 14, 2021, Akron City Council passed a resolution presented by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Council President Margo Sommerville to designate June 19, 2021, and every June 19 thereafter, as Juneteenth Independence Day in the City of Akron. Mayor Horrigan also signed a proclamation to the same effect. On June 17, 2021 President Joe Biden signed legislation into law establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day—a US federal holiday commemorating the proclamation of the end of slavery in the United States.
Juneteenth commemorates the day freedom was proclaimed to all enslaved persons in former Confederate states by Union General Gordon Granger, on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, more than two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln which declared that formerly enslaved persons shall be “then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
“While Juneteenth has been celebrated by many in the African American community for over 150 years, Congress took the important step of declaring this day a national holiday,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “This holiday reminds us that the journey to true freedom for African Americans continues to this day, and highlights our responsibility to be aware of our history, even when it reveals the painful struggle for equality for all. I am honored to join with our entire community in celebrating Juneteenth and to do the real work of building a more equitable Akron.”
There will be no curb service delay due to the observation of the Juneteenth holiday this year. Following the national designation, permanent City employees will be provided the opportunity to recognize the Juneteenth holiday with an additional 8 hours of leave in 2021.
For many years, various organizations and groups across Akron have held annual celebrations and educational events on June 19 to commemorate this important day in our history. Several events are taking place in 2021 in honor of the holiday.
The Summit County Historical Society will host a Juneteenth Symposium, community picnic and a short play by Reva Golden 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 19. The event will take place outside the Perkins Stone Mansion at 550 Copley Rd.
The 2021 Akron Juneteenth Festival, organized by Fela Sutton, will take place at Stoner/Hawkins Park. The event, which begins at noon on June 19 and ends at 7 p.m., is free and open to all families. The festival will feature an open-air market of Black-owned vendors, youth activities, free food for kids, an open mic and community conversation and a car show.
The East Akron Reunion, organized by Ward 5 Councilperson Tara Samples, will hold a community picnic on June 19, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Joy Park Community Center on James Ingram Way. The event, which is free and open to everyone, will include live music, community awards, local vendors, more music by DJ Smoove and a mobile vaccine clinic by Summit County Public Health, which is a co-sponsor of the event.