Celebration of the past, present and future

Junteenth pic.png
Photo credit: Jian Bautista

To commemorate the June 19, 1865 announcement that ended slavery in Texas and emancipated African Americans in the south, UAA will be holding a Juneteenth celebration on June 14 and 15. This event is free for students with a valid UAA ID, $5 for staff and faculty and $8 for general public. During the span of two days, there will be live music, speakers, food, movie showings, art activities and outdoor games.

UAA’s Juneteenth is presented by Student Activities and Commuter Programs, Black Student Union and Student Life and Leadership. Jennifer Spencer, social work major and Student Activities and Commuter Programs team member, has attended Juneteenth events at UAA the last three years and has been a part of the planning process. Spencer emphasizes the importance of educating those eager to learn about various cultures histories to grow as a community.

“The reason UAA should keep putting on events like Juneteenth is because we have many faces and different backgrounds on our campus and it’s important to lean about others historical events,” Spencer said. “In order for people to understand cultural sensitivity we as an education and public institution, have to introduce curtain characteristics of one’s culture so others know how to rightful show respect and allow individuals of that culture to show homage.”

UAA’s Juneteenth is kicking off on June 14 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cuddy Quad celebrating over food by Smoke House food truck and live music by Robert Arms Jazz Ensemble. There will be tie-dyeing, face painting and basketball. Later that day, at 7 p.m. a showing of the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” by James Baldwin will be playing at the Wendy Williamson auditorium. The movie is free for everyone to watch.

“The movie was chosen because it tells an amazing story about who and what the leaders did during the civil rights movement and what obstacles that stood in our way and how we over came that, to be where we are today as a country,” Spencer said.

The most anticipated portion of Juneteenth is taking place on June 15 in the Wendy Williamson auditorium at 7 p.m. with guest speaker Marc Lamont Hill, an African American journalist, scholar, author and activist.

“I saw that Dr. Hill was going to be speaking at UAA and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. He has offered some sound discussion on race relations in America on several channels, and I always come away impressed,” Nick Tabaczka, double major in mathematics and political science, said. “If for no other reason than he really listens to his interviewer and fellow panelists, and then intersects with the topic at hand, not some preset agenda. I look forward to hearing him speak beyond the 1 to 5 minute answers he is allowed on television.”

- Advertisement -

For those, celebrating Juneteenth is an important reminder of the past and what the future will hold.

“Juneteenth to me means celebrating a part of our history that often gets overlooked. As an African American woman, it is extremely important to me that our history be celebrated as a reminder of how far we’ve come as a country and yet another reminder of how far we have to achieve moving forward in the world and especially around the U.S.,” Lauren Lampkin, Anchorage resident, said.

Celebrating Juneteenth in a university setting can help expose this history to those who may not know of this important date in the past.

“Furthermore it is absolutely critical that we have these discussions in a university setting because I strongly believe that young people are some of the most passionate minds we have our nation and with that, it’s up to us to learn, apply and teach others so that this lack of knowledge of an event to be proud of is no more,” Lampkin said. “I am thrilled and I hope that the university continues to celebrate other historical events such as this in the future.”

UAA will be celebrating Juneteenth over a span of two days on June 14 and 15. Enjoy a fun, tasty and educational event at UAA to commemorate this important part of history in the U.S.