Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, it took two and a half years for slaves in the state of Texas to be told of their freedom. Juneteenth is the celebration of the day when all enslaved individuals became aware of their freedom.
This year we’re celebrating Juneteenth all weekend long. Read on for a look at some of the events happening throughout the community and join us as we celebrate freedom.
2023 Weekend Schedule
THURSDAY, JUNE 15TH
12:00PM – at the Keene Family YMCA
The Freedom Journey Trail opens for self-guided tours
Take a walk through history on the YMCA grounds to learn about important historical events that have shaped the ongoing freedom struggle of Black Americans. The trail will remain open through Friday, June 23rd.
FRIDAY, JUNE 16TH
7:00PM – at Brewbakers | 48 Emerald Street, Keene
W.S. Badger presents “Black Cowboys”
A presentation by Zaron Burnett III, creator and host of the Black Cowboys podcast (available wherever you get your podcasts). Seating is limited. Registration is required for this free event. Click here to learn more and to register.
SATURDAY, JUNE 17TH
11AM-2PM – at Local Burger | 82 Main Street, Downtown Keene
A free commnity event organized by the City of Keene’s Human Rights Committee and featuring exhibitors, musical performances by the Gaslight Tinkers, the Alex Minasian Trio, and more.
Tentative Event Schedule:
- 11:00am – Welcome by Kris Roberts, City Counselor
- 11:15am-12:00pm – Musical Performance: The Gaslight Tinkers
- 12:00pm-12:15pm – Speaker: Zaron Burnett
- 12:15-1:00pm – Musical Performance: Alex Minasian Trio
- 1:00-1:15pm – Speaker: Joseph Lascaze, NH native and Campaign Manager for the ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign
- 1:15pm-1:45pm – TBD
- 1:45pm-2:00pm – Speaker: Gail Somers, local entrepreneur and community organizer
1:30-2:45PM – at Keene Public Library | Huntress Auditorium
Kid Flicks: Celebrating Black Stories
Black stories take the spotlight to highlight films that share the joy, determination, resilience, and complexity of being Black and young. Explore a range of genres and styles in a program that spans the globe. Run time: 76 minutes | Recommended ages 9+. Seating is limited and registration is required for this free event. Click here to learn more and to register.
6:30PM – at Keene State College | Parker Hall – Drenan Auditorium
Buck and the Preacher
A screening of the newly restored 1972 film directed by Sidney Poitier. This film helped rewrite the history of the western, bringing Black heroes to a genre in which they had been sorely underrepresented. Seating is limited. Registration is required for this free event. Click here to learn more and to register.
TUESDAY, JUNE 20TH
1:00PM-2:00PM – Keene Public Library – Cohen Hall
Terrific Tuesday: Hip Hop with Edwin Owusu
Edwin Owusu is a hip hop and Afrobeats artist who currently lives and works out of Burlington, VT. He performed in 2021 and 2022 as part of Keene’s Juneteenth Celebration, and we’re excited to welcome him back this year to again amuse you with his stories of the African diaspora and and amaze you with his hip hop skills! This event is part of the Keene Public Library’s Terrific Tuesday event series and is geared towards school-age children.
Registration is required for this free event. Click here to register.
Zaron Burnett speaks about the real history of America's West
It’s said that 1-in-4 cowboys were Black. Try to picture that. We rarely get a chance to. But the truth of the matter is, Black cowboys led lives of high adventure, days punctuated with shootouts, daring escapes from posses, and from Spanish fortresses, nights spent in smoky saloons with showgirls, or somewhere out underneath a ceiling of stars, the earth their bed. It’s high time we tell their stories. And do so with a gusto and liveliness they’d appreciate. Through their stories we can explore and experience a far larger story of America, a more honest and impressive narrative of our country and its people, as seen through the lens of the Black cowboy. Their path helped lead us to this moment. Come along and take a trip down this rarely-traveled path with our host, Zaron Burnett, the writer and creator of the podcast, Black Cowboys.
Save some $ on lunch
Our friends at Local Burger are offering attendees of the Juneteenth Celebration at Railroad Square on Saturday, June 17th a coupon for $5.00 off with a purchase of $5.00 or more.* And for every coupon redeemed, they will donate $5.00 back to support the event! Be sure to stop by the YMCA tent during the event to get your coupon and save a few bucks on lunch.
*Coupons are valid on Saturday, June 17th only.
2023 Event Sponsors
Continue the Journey
Keene Family YMCA seeks to be welcoming and inclusive without exception, and is steadfastly committed to supporting, highlighting, and celebrating diversity in our community year-round. Everyone is welcome at the Y.
To advance equity, we must evaluate and dismantle the barriers to opportunities, access and resources that have prevented the full participation of some groups and develop relevant solutions and support systems.
The first step is awareness. Here we’re providing you with some actions you can take to continue learning and to support national efforts to break down the barriers that have been contributing to the inequity that continues to plague our society. We hope you’ll find these resources helpful in furthering your understanding of the movement.
Interested in becoming a YMCA Diversity Ambassador? Complete the form and we’ll be in touch!
Racial Justice & Community Safety Committee Report
City of Keene, New Hampshire, March 18, 2021
“Does systemic racism exist in NH?”
by Dan and Sindiso Mnisi Weeks
NH Business Review, May 30, 2021
“Inequality at school – What’s behind the racial disparity in our education system?”
by Kirsten Weir
American Psychological Association, November 2016, Vol 47, No. 10
Institutional Racism in the Health Care System
Racism in healthcare: What you need to know
Medical News Today
Racism and discrimination in health care: Providers and patients
Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Health Blog
Institutional Racism and Health Care for Minorities
by Sharon Liao, WebMD
What is systemic racism?
by Kate Slater, Today.com
by Kate Slater
The Tapestry of Black Business Ownership in America
a publication of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)
Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization
Crossroads Ministry, Chicago, IL
Racism has a cost for everyone
TED Talk by Heather C. McGhee
How Structural Racism Works – Racist Policies as Root Cause of U.S. Racial Health Inequities
The New England Journal of Medicine, February 25, 2021
by Zinzi D. Bailey, Sc.D., M.S.P.H., Justin M. Feldman, Sc.D., and Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H.
7 myths about “defunding the police” debunked
by Howard Henderson and Ben Yisrael
Brookings, May 19, 2021
From Privilege to Progress
A national movement to desegregate the conversation about race and racism started by Melissa DePino and Michelle Saahene
Two Distant Strangers
In this Oscar-winning short film, a man trying to get home to his dog becomes stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive a deadly run-in with a police officer.
Ending the War on Drugs: By the Numbers
by Betsy Pearl, June 27, 2018
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi
Celebrating 10 African American Medical Pioneers
by Julia Haskins, Special to AAMCNews