Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, officially takes place Saturday, June 19, but in Anchorage there will be events marking the occasion all month long.
“It felt fitting that we would take Juneteenth to the next level this year,” said Jasmin Smith, assistant chair of the Juneteenth planning committee.
That’s in part because Alaskans are emerging out of a year of shutdowns and isolation due to the pandemic. People miss each other, Smith said.
It’s also been a year in which Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and racially motivated violence took place across the country. With race at the forefront of the national conversation, there’s been a local impact, Smith said.
“I think the tone of the country and all the advocacy work taking place last year, and it was another renaissance in terms of Black culture and being re-energerized on behalf of our community,” Smith said.
Events surrounding the main June 19 celebration will include conversations about Black history and culture and free admission to the Anchorage Museum, which is showing the exhibition “Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy.”
The celebration on June 19 at the Northway Mall will have lots of good food, bounce houses, vendors and entertainment, Smith said, and everyone is welcome.
Juneteenth “is about African American independence but we want everyone to come and celebrate with us,” Smith said.
Black lives in Alaska: See me, hear my voice! Black art and black artists
12-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16
African American Artists of Alaska present a panel discussion on Black and African American art and their collectors at the Anchorage Museum. The group will discuss the marginalization of Black/African American artists and the significance of their work. Panelists include Vonnie Gaither, Tasha Webster, Celeste Hodge Growden, Jovell Rennie and Eleanor Andrews. Free. (625 C Street; anchoragemuseum.org)
Free screening of ‘Boyz N the Hood’
7 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Century 16 theater
UAA Student Activities is hosting a free screening of the groundbreaking 1991 coming-of-age drama “Boyz N the Hood.” Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis (limit 2 per person). You must sign up through UAATix (uaatix.universitytickets.com) to reserve your spot (tickets will not be distributed on-site at Century 16; online “sales” end at 5:00 p.m. AKDT on 6/17/21).
Century 16 operates at a capacity that maintains physical distancing (including seat blocking) for customers and staff. (Note: The film is Rated “R” for language, violence, and sexual situations.)
Virtual poetry slam
7 p.m. Friday, June 18, online
Xi Psi Omega will present a friendly virtual poetry slam contest on the theme of Juneteenth or The Harlem Renaissance. The winner will receive $100. Registration is via Eventbrite; find at more on Xi Psi Omega’s Facebook page.
Juneteenth Citywide Celebration
1-6 p.m. Saturday June 19, Northway Mall
There will be speakers and proclamations, entertainment, dance competitions, vendors, bounce houses and more at this Juneteenth celebration. At 3 p.m. there will be a Say Their Name drum circle led by sound artist Gail Jackson. Free to attend. Visit Juneteenth Anchorage’s website for details. (101 Penland Pkwy)
Free admission to the Anchorage Museum
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 19
Anchorage Museum will offer free admission all day. Check out “Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy,” an exhibition presenting the Black experience in Alaska. Also showing is “Hekima (Wisdom): Their History is Our History,” presented by Cyrano’s Theatre Company. This documentary film features interviews with key figures in Alaska’s Black community. (625 C Street; anchoragemuseum.org)
Youth conversation about Juneteenth
7-8 p.m. Sunday, June 20
Alaska Black Caucus will host a conversation with youths Juneteenth over Zoom. Specifics, including how to register, will be posted to their Facebook page.
Community Conversation: The Tulsa Massacre
7-8 p.m. Sunday, June 27
During the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, mobs of white residents attacked Black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Learn more in a conversation moderated by LeRoy Williams. For more information or to register, visit thealaskablackcaucus.com.
Family art class: Black lives in Alaska
1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 26
Gather at the Anchorage Museum for an afternoon centered around art and the exhibition “Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy.” After a gallery tour, instructor and creative entrepreneur Tasha Webster, organizer of African American Artists in Alaska, will guide young artists and their families in creating their own creative artwork. Great for young artists and their adults, ages 6 and older. Registration required; class will meet in the center of the atrium inside the museum at the mirror installation. Short exhibition tour will be followed by an art project with materials provided. $5, members $4.50. Register at anchoragemuseum.org. (625 C Street; 907-929-9200)