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Juneteenth, a combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” is celebrated each year on June 19 and commemorates the day in 1865 when the last of those enslaved in Texas received news of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed two years earlier. Now recognized as a federal holiday, New Jersey was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery,

Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed January 1, 1863, the amendment wasn’t fully ratified until December 1865, after the Civil War. Some southern slaveholders claimed Black people were still their property, so the Union Army rode south to inform slaves they were free. Here’s how you can explain the holiday to your kids.

We’ve rounded up some events where you can celebrate Juneteenth in New Jersey.

Atlantic City
Get ready to celebrate Black Excellence at the annual BE Festival June 17-19 at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City. This fun-filled weekend commemorates the history, perseverance and resilience of African Americans while bringing the community together. Planned events include The BE Film Festival June 17 and 18 that will showcase up-and-coming and emerging Black filmmakers, a comedy show, live music, food trucks, vendors and educational seminars.

NAACP Juneteenth Celebration Event will include live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, giveaways and raffles.

Bloomfield Township
Bloomfield celebrates its second annual Juneteenth Family Festival with a full day of history, music, shopping Black-owned businesses and family fun. Attend a live inspiration service and a live dance instruction. Hair stylists from all over will pay homage to the legendary Madam CJ Walker in The Giveback Hair Show. 12-6pm June 18 along Glenwood Avenue.

Burlington Freedom Day 2022: A Juneteenth Celebration is planned for 2-7 pm June 18 at the Burlington Riverfront Promenade.

Camden’s Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration Festival will feature family-friendly activities, local merchants, food vendors, art exhibits, and a lineup of live music performances headlined by soul/jazz innovator Jeff Bradshaw. 2-7pm June 18, Wiggins Park, 2 Riverside Dr., Camden.

The date of Elizabeth’s Juneteenth Caravan & Marketplace is to be determined. A Juneteenth & Father’s Day Celebration is set for 1-5 pm June 19 at Pop Up Next Door, 1169 Elizabeth Ave.

Join a weekend of celebration from June 17-19. This networking mixer on June 17 is an opportunity for the founders of Monmouth County Diversity Alliance, Inc. to meet and greet community leaders and discuss how they can work together in the communities of Monmouth and Ocean counties to address diversity, equity and inclusion. A free ticket is required for entry to The American Hotel, 18 E. Main St., Freehold. At 10 am June 18, take part in a march and ceremony from the Bethel AME Church, 3 Waterworks Road, to the Squirreltown Cemetery. At 12 pm there will be a festival at the Hall of Records, 1 E. Main St., with food, music, guest speakers, vendors and more. This event is free and open to the public so bring a friend. On June 19 at 5 pm a formal gala to celebrate Juneteenth will be held at the Bella Vista Country Club, Marlboro. Enjoy live music, food, and a special Father’s Day cigar lounge. Tickets are $100 per person. An e-ticket is required for entry.

Black & Brilliant Events Team will present its third annual Juneteenth Community Celebration Event from 1-7:30 pm June 18. Join the memorial in celebration and remembrance of lives lost due to racial injustice and the struggle for freedom. Glassboro Sports Complex, 230 Wilmer St. Rain date is June 25.

Be one of the first to join in on Mercer County’s Juneteenth Black Business Expo, from 10am – 3pm June 18 at The Conference Center inside the RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness, 3100 Quakerbridge Road, Hamilton. Enjoy food, shopping, live music, prizes and giveaways while supporting Black-owned businesses from around the Mercer County area! Free to attend. Family-friendly. RSVP required.

Jersey City
Celebrate the African Diaspora and commemorate Juneteenth during the African Cultural Arts Family Festival, which will include live entertainment, children’s activities, vendors at the African marketplace, an Info Zone with community organizations and a food court. 1-7 pm June 18, Berry Lane Park, 1000 Garfield Ave., Jersey City. Rain date June 25.

Also, a Juneteenth Journey to Freedom Grab-and-Go Crafts will be offered June 13 and 14, 9:30am – 5pm, at the Jersey City Free Public Library.

Little Ferry
The historic Gethsemane Cemetery— founded in 1860 as a final resting place for Hackensack’s African-American population— will be open to the public for public viewing from 1-4 pm. Bergen County Historian Dr. Arnold Brown will be on site to answer questions.

Long Branch
The Long Branch Free Public Library is proud to host Long Branch’s Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration! At 1 pm on June 18, join a festive event that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. Expect food vendors, guest speakers, genealogy research, a DJ performance, local authors, bouncy house, entertainment and vendors. For more information, email Nekesha Marshall at nmarshall@longbranchlib.org.

Maplewood/South Orange
Join a Community Paint and Sip as SOMA Celebrates Juneteenth from 5-7:30 pm June 17 at Spiotta Park, South Orange. Then, visit Spiotta Park on June 18 for Downtown After Sundown from 6:30-8:30 pm. A Community Art Project will be unveiled at 2pm June 19 at The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange. MAPSO will have its own Juneteenth celebration from 5-9pm June 18 at the Maplewood Memorial Park Amphitheater, opposite the Maplewood Train Station.

The Red and Black on the Green Juneteenth celebration honoring Black excellence in the community will begin at 5 p.m. June 19 with a cocktail reception at Bella Vista Country Club, 100 School Road, Marlboro. Enjoy live music, food, and a special Father’s Day cigar lounge. Black tie for gentleman, red formal attire for ladies requested. Cost is $100 per person. Tickets are available.

This year’s event in Metuchen plans to include step dancers, two drum lines, a majorette group and a discussion on the topic of Afro futurism and how it plays into art. The downtown plaza is located at the intersection of New and Pearl streets. 6-8pm June 18.

Mount Laurel
Mount Laurel’s Juneteenth celebration, Celebrating Our Culture, will be a free event for all. 11am – 6pm June 18, 3111 Route 38, Unit 18, Mount Laurel Township.

Juneteenth at the Newark Museum of Art will be an outdoor festival inspired by Harriet Tubman, featuring performers, artists and dancers from the Black community across New Jersey. Be part of the creation of Newark’s Harriet Tubman Monument in Washington Park by decorating ceramic tiles with your stories of freedom and liberation. The tiles will later be fired and integrated into the final design of the monument (limited availability). Jacari Harris, executive director of the George Floyd Foundation, will address the general progress of the Black community and touch on topics of activism and equity. Take part in step workshops, arts and crafts, great food, local vendors, and a lot more. This event is for all ages. Newark Museum of Art, 49 Washington St. 12-5 pm June 18. In case of rain, the event will move indoors. Enjoy free general admission to the museum all day during Community Day.

New Brunswick
From the Electric Slide to Punta, join in on dance, music, food and spoken word, along with youth activities, at the Vulcan Pioneers New Brunswick Parade & Heritage Festival, beginning with the parade at 11 am at George Street and Remsen Avenue, New Brunswick. The festival starts at noon at the park at 5 Pine St.

North Brunswick
The Accountability Initiative will present Juneteenth 2022 from 1-6 pm June 18 at Babbage Park, off Hollywood Street, North Brunswick.

Ocean Grove
Honor the contributions of Dorian Parreott, Sr., retired band director of Asbury Park High School, and past president of NJ Music Educators, as he performs with the Sentimental Journey Big Band, featuring the music of Black composers, arrangers and vocalists, from 3-4 pm June 19. Join in the Sentimental Journey, a free Juneteenth concert. Pre-registration required.

Juneteenth at the Park will include music, live presentations, children’s crafts, activities, dance and more at Riverside Park on River Road in Piscataway, from 12-6 pm June 18. Hosted by Mobile Family Success Center.

Red Bank
The Red Bank Parks and Recreation Department invites you attend the Juneteenth Celebration on June 18. This community event will feature food trucks, live music, speakers and so more. This event if free for all to attend and take place from 12-5pm in Johnny Jazz Park. For more information, call the Recreation Department at 732-530-2782 or email recreation@redbanknj.org.

Scotch Plains
Mini golf, carnival games, food trucks, vendors, music by DJ Oakie – celebrate Juneteenth all day, from 1-8 pm, at Shady Rest Golf and Country Club, 820 Jerusalem Road, Scotch Plains. An opening ceremony at 1 pm will honor local heroes. Family collages with Mansa Mussa at 2pm and 4pm. Putting contest with prizes at 2pm and 4pm. Double Dutch with Jump Kids at 3pm. Guided tours of Shady Rest at 4pm and 5pm. Martial arts demo by FACE Corp/Goshu-Kwan Temple at 5pm. Music by Amani at 6 pm.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. was founded on Jan. 16, 1920, at Howard University. The principles are Finer Womanhood, Scholarship, Service and Sisterhood. They will host a Juneteenth Finer Games 5K Obstacle Course and Health & Wellness Fair on June 18 at Colonia Park, 156 Mettlers Road, Somerset. Additional race information is available.

Join a reflective somber walk from Larch and North streets to Pomander Walk Burial Ground, beginning at 8:45 am June 18. Stay for a flag raising ceremony at noon at Milton A. Votee Park, Palisade Avenue.

The Juneteenth event at Capital City Farm will highlight African Americans’ impact on agriculture and food advocacy. The family-friendly event includes distribution of free children’s books, a Literacy Corner where children can sit on hay bales and read, a scavenger hunt, corn milling, lettuce seedling planting, bee abode building, live music and African-inspired food. Tours of the farm will be available.

Celebrate freedom during the Juneteenth Arts Festival, presented by The Township of Union and DB Events, at 11 am June 18 near the Department of Public Works, 1 Swanstrom Pl. E., Union.

West Orange
Space 2 Create’s Founder Talia Young and West Orange Councilwoman Tammy Williams will host a “JuneTee” Juneteenth celebration on June 17, bringing together West Orange and Essex County community and business leaders. JuneTee will feature a keynote by Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Olvery, speakers, evocative performances, thought-provoking panel discussions and interactive breakout to celebrate Black creatives, entrepreneurs and leaders and economic empowerment in the largest Black constituency in New Jersey.

WONAC presents a Juneteenth celebration of family fun from 12-4 p.m. June 18 at Woodbridge High School, concert grounds, 25 Samuel Lupo Pl. Live entertainment, vendors, food.


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