On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas were finally told they were free. This news arrived over two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the Civil War ended.

Juneteenth festivities began the following year, celebrating freedom with food, singing, and the reading of spirituals.

After a decades-long effort by activists, President Joe Biden signed a bill on June 17, 2021, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

“This day doesn’t just celebrate the past,” Biden said. “It calls for action today.”

Last year, the Omaha Community Foundation joined a growing number of companies and organizations giving their employees Juneteenth as a paid day off.

We invite you to join us in reflection and celebration – and to take time to learn more about Black history and culture.

Here are a few ideas, taking place on Saturday, June 19 – unless otherwise noted.