UAA to celebrate Juneteenth

This year will mark Anchorage’s 19th annual city celebration of Juneteenth. It will be held the weekend of June 20-22 at various locations including the VFW Post 10252, Mountain View Boy’s and Girl’s club and 1st CME Church.

However UAA Student Activities, in partnership with Student Life and Leadership and the Multicultural Center, will kick Juneteenth with its own celebration from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. June 18, on the UAA South Lot Lawn, adjacent to the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

“This will be about the 20th year of the event. We started in the ‘90s, featuring live music, soul food and presentations remembering the history of Juneteenth,” said Kacee Holloway, Student Activities assistant manager.

The event is free for UAA students with valid ID. It will cost $10 for all UAA staff and faculty and $12 for the general public.

Juneteenth celebrations offer a great opportunity to showcase local talent and gather the community to celebrate. However, does the cause really warrant celebration?

Juneteenth is an event to mark the freeing of the “last” slaves in 1865. This took place nearly two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, according to http://www.juneteenthak.com.

UAA Multicultural Center Director E. andre Thorn said despite this, black slaves continued to “love their country more than their country loved them,” because the proclamation only freed slaves from rebel states — and many of those who were freed had their rights restricted with the Black Codes, laws that supported racial segregation and inequalities.

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So why celebrate? Juneteenth holds significance because although it may have failed to grant freedom to all slaves, it marked hope — hope that one day all people would share in equality for all, hope that one day all would be free to chase the American dream.