Celebrating Juneteenth

I’ve wanted to celebrate Juneteenth for a while. I didn’t grow up knowing much about the holiday, and it wasn’t something that was celebrated in my family. I’ve been to numerous Fourth of July celebrations, cookouts, etc., but I don’t remember any of them centering around what was actually being celebrated that day: America’s independence. We were just getting together as a family, which we never really needed an excuse to do. Food played a big part in that, so the Fourth of July was just another holiday to which different family members could bring their best dish and break bread together. Once we moved to Texas, I became even more interested in learning about the holiday – especially when I learned that Galveston was only a few hours away. 

The Fourth of July marks the day that, in 1776, America’s 13 colonies became free of British rule. However, the enslavement of (most) Black people did not formally end until the Emancipation Proclamation became official in 1873. The caveat or asterisk to this statement is that there were enslaved people living in Galveston, TX who had no idea that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. In fact, it wasn’t until two years later on June 19 (hence “Juneteenth”) that word reached the enslaved people in Galveston that they had, in fact, been freed two years prior. The celebrations that assuredly occurred that day laid the foundation for generations to come. 

Due to a series of recent uprisings in the wake of police brutality, there has been an urgent incentive to celebrate the holiday across the country. Companies like Amazon and Nike have declared Juneteenth a paid holiday for employees, and in 2020, Bexar county declared Juneteenth a county-wide holiday.

Here are some things that you can do to celebrate with your family if this is your first-time celebrating the holiday: 

1. Learn about Juneteenth’s History and Significance

Start by reading books about the holiday. I’m a firm believer in the power of books, especially for explaining new information to young people. There are a plethora of children’s books about Juneteenth! Here are a few great tried-and-tested options:

  • All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson
  • Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
  • Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story by Valerie Wesley

2. Enjoy a Meal with Your Family

Food brings people together, so fire up the grill or oven and cut up some summer fruit. Remember that Juneteenth was a day of celebration, so keep that feeling at the heart of your feast. Use this as a time to connect and spend time with your loved ones, honoring and remembering the meals that those brave, formerly enslaved folks cooked together in recognition of their dignity and freedom. 

3. Have a Family Discussion about Big Things: Freedom, Justice, Family Values

Holidays – especially those in the summer – are a great time to get together around the table and have discussions (especially with the youngest members of the family) about your family values. What is important to your family? Why? You could even draw up a family mission statement! Within these conversations, you can provide a a layered and productive discussion of important issues like freedom and justice. Start by looking up the definitions of these words, and then discuss their meanings together. This is definitely a conversation to revisit each year, and you can deepen the conversation as your children get older. 

4. Sprinklers and Fireworks

Much like Fourth of July celebrations, bring out the fireworks (if it is legal in your area), sparklers, noisemakers, etc. to celebrate! You can really do whatever you wish to mark this special occasion. Juneteenth should be a day of celebration, so make it one to remember for your children with these fun extras. 

5. Donate to a Relevant Organization

Expand the conversation of your family values by choosing an organization to donate to. Research different organizations together, ensuring that they both align with your values and center and prioritize Black folks. No amount is too small to make a difference. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 

An update from the ACM Team:
Here is a list of Juneteenth events happening in San Antonio and Austin in June 2024: 


Black Girls Do Bike San Antonio 8 am- 17612 Vance Jackson, San Antonio
To learn more about BGDB- https://www.facebook.com/PedalSATX


Black History Film Series – Little Carver Auditorium, San Antonio


Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast, 9 am – The Witte Museum, San Antonio

African American Book Festival, 12-4 pm – Carver Library, San Antonio


A Night of Soul, 6-9 pm – La Villita, San Antonio


Freedom Parade, 10 am – Sam Houston High School, San Antonio

Juneteenth Festival Health Fair, 11 am – 5 pm – Comanche Park #2, San Antonio

SA Block Party and Fair, 3-9 pm – Crockett Park, San Antonio

Juneteenth Festival, 11 am – 11 pm – Comanche Park #2, San Antonio

Central Texas Juneteenth Parade and Festival– Rosewood Park, Austin

Austin’s Juneteenth Celebration: Stay Black and Live– Austin

Black Makers Market– Austin


Celebrating Fathers Day and Juneteenth, 2-5 pm – St Philips College, San Antonio

19th Fest– Waterloo Park, Austin


Freedom!, 5:30- 10 pm – The Tobin

Black Heritage and Black Freedom, 4-6 pm – Thinkery, Austin


National Day of Celebration, 10 am – 8 pm – Second Baptist Church, San Antonio

Juneteenth Golf Tournament – Hyatt Hill Country, San Antonio

Juneteenth Summer Solstice, 6-9 pm – Gardopia Gardens, San Antonio

Festival and Fireworks, 6-9 pm – True Vision Church, San Antonio


Juneteenth Celebration – Neill-Cochran House Museum, Austin

** This post was updated in 2024 by the ACM team to include new dates, resources, and county information **

I came to San Antonio by way of North Carolina, but I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. My husband and I have a proud kindergartner and we recently welcomed a baby girl. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Media Studies and am also an adjunct college professor. Although I live in Cibolo, you can always find me exploring something new in San Antonio. I love trying new coffee shops, restaurants, and the many San Antonio festivals. I try to turn as many events as possible into kid-friendly spaces!


  1. Love the article, Briana! And thanks for sharing and enlightening as I too, did not celebrate nor truly know the meaning of Juneteenth! Looking forward to celebrating it from here on out!

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