For the first time, Friday’s Juneteeth celebrations will be a holiday for New York state employees, marking a pivotal shift of the day that celebrates the liberation of enslaved Black people in the United States.
Juneteenth was normally observed by African American families with cookout, a parade or a festival, but as calls for racial justice sparked by the death of George Floyd continue to grow, it will now also be a day of action. Thousands of New Yorkers are expected to take to the street to demonstrate that there’s a long way to go for racial equality in the country.
One of the rallies in the city will be held at the Brooklyn Public Library. Borough President Eric Adams and NYC council members are expected to be in attendance. Dozens more are scheduled across all the city’s boroughs including an evening vigil at Prospect Park for Black female-identifying victims of violence.