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Pittsburgh marking Juneteenth with weekend celebrations

PITTSBURGH — A major Juneteenth celebration is underway, in honor of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

Officials say it’s a much deserved moment highlighting diversity and progress locally and across the state.

Pittsburgh community leaders came together in May to announce a number of plans and celebrations for Juneteenth.

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Known as Freedom Day to many and held on June 19, Juneteenth celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States.

Organizers say this is a historic moment and so it’s particularly important following recent events.

In addition, the city and the county became the first in Pennsylvania to make it a legislative holiday after the governor declared it a state holiday.

“When we first started out this planning in 2020, we didn’t know what the circumstances were gonna be. But we were persistent in trying to make this happen and then we got sponsors to come in to help us build this program out,” said William Marshall, founder and CEO of WPA Juneteenth and Pittsburgh Black Music.

Here’s a full list of events:

  • June 12: Juneteenth Kickoff fest at Chartiers Park (West End), 11am - 9pm.
  • June 18 - June 20, Juneteenth Youth Sports Fest at Mellon Park, 9am - 4pm, daily.
  • June 18 - June 20, Pittsburgh-Allegheny Co. Juneteenth Freedom Days Celebration at Point State Park, 11am - 9pm daily.
  • Black Voting Rights, Juneteenth-Jubilee Re-enactment Parade on June 26th in downtown Pittsburgh, 10am - 1pm.
  • June 21 - June 27, Pittsburgh Black Music Fest at Point State Park, 11am - 9pm, daily.

Special Events:

  • On-site Juneteenth COVID Vaccination Programs, June 18 - June 20, with UPMC, Gateway Health & ANH.
  • Juneteenth-Minority Vendors Economic Impact Plaza on Penn and Liberty avenues between Stanwix street and Commonwealth Place, June 18-20 and June 24-27.
  • Healthy-heart Dance contest and attempt to set the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest Soul Train Line Dance with New Cupid of national Cupid Shuffle fame on June 20.
  • Seventh Annual Black Tie Honors Gala, June 5th, 6pm - 10pm, at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh, hosted by Celebrity Actor and Pittsburgh native, Lamman Rucker (Juneteenth Fundraiser).

All festival activities will include in-person events and live-streaming formats. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 protocols and guidelines will be enforced.