ORLANDO, Fla. - Juneteenth takes place on June 19 and commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
Celebrations of Juneteenth, sometimes called Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, have taken on added meaning this year in the wake of George Floyd's death and global protests demanding racial justice and equality.
With that said, it seems as though more businesses than ever around Central Florida are marking the occasion with special events for residents to come together and unite. Many companies, including Google and Target, have decided to officially make Juneteenth a paid company holiday.
Black Americans began to celebrate Juneteenth in honor of when Texas - the last rebel state - officially abolished slavery.
On June 19, 1865, Union Major Gen. Gordon Granger and his regiment rode into Galveston, Texas, with news the Civil War had ended and that the states more than 250,000 enslaved people were now free.
It was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation – which went into effect on January 1, 1863 – and nearly six months after the 13th Amendment was passed by Congress officially abolishing the institution of slavery.
Below is a list of events happening around Central Florida to celebrate Juneteenth:
Juneteenth Memorial Services For Lives Lost To Police Brutality and Gun Violence
Begins at 3 p.m. at Lake Eola in Orlando. The Juneteenth Freedom Day March will begin at 4:30 p.m. at 101 N. Rosalind Avenue following by a Church Street block party.
Black Friday Orlando Scavenger Hunt
The event encourages Orlando area residents to explore black-owned businesses and historic sites in Central Florida in a scavenger hunt kicking off at 9 a.m. Friday, June 19. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.
Juneteenth Poetry Slam
Poets can share their work with an audience at Bloodhound Brew Pub and Eatery on June 19 from 8 to 10 p.m. Tickets are currently sold out, but you can call the venue at 407-578-5711 to see if seats become available.
Juneteenth - The Freedom Celebration
The event is happening June 19 from 7 p.m. - midnight at 7593 Gathering Dr. in Kissimmee which will commemorate the end of slavery. Tickets are $18 in advance at eventbrite.com.
Juneteenth Yoga & Celebration
You can celebrate the holiday in the most zen way possible at 1Raw Yoga and Natural Products on N. Palmetto Ave. in Sanford. Guests can practice yoga with live music while relieving stress. The event is happening from 6 to 8 p.m. Visit eventbrite.com for more information.
A Juneteenth Community Celebration
The community will come together for a festival happening at 7510 Silver Star Road in Orlando from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday. There will be live music, food, pop-up shops, poetry and art. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.
“My Black is Excellent”
Soul food, dancing, and a performance from Nina Skyy will mark Juneteenth at 6387 W. Colonial Drive in Orlando from 7 to 10 p.m. Seating is limited. Tickets are $10 in advance or $20 at the door. For more information, call 407-704-6538 or visit eventbrite.com.