For a full week beginning June 15, the Southfield City Centre will burst with activity to celebrate Juneteenth 2020. This week-long event recognizes “Freedom Day,” honoring the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans on June 19, 1865, when abolition of slavery in Texas was announced.
A collaborative effort between Southfield Mayor Ken Siver and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., the event will offer participants the chance to learn the history of the Southfield City Centre and its important role in the Underground Railroad movement, enjoy jazz, blues, art and other types of entertainment, food trucks and much more.
“We are partnering with the City of Southfield and Mayor Siver to initiate our first annual Junteenth Week celebration,” said Zena Kyles, president of the Pi Tau Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., during an initial presentation to the Southfield City Council on Dec. 9, 2019. “This is a cultural event we want to bring to Southfield and to Oakland County.”
Juneteenth Week offers residents, family, friends and visitors a chance to enjoy the numerous amenities of the Southfield City Centre and explore the many public art installations, shared-use trail, bikeshare program, and many gathering places within the City Centre district.
“We presented the Mayor with our ideas, and we really just wanted a day of celebration, but the Mayor was enthralled and enthused and had so many ideas for a weeklong agenda of events,” said Kyles. “There were already events happening in Southfield, but we are renaming them or bringing them under the package of Junteenth Week.”
Beginning on Monday, June 15, the week will feature:
- An Underground Railroad & Juneteenth History event with the Southfield History Museum at Burgh Historic Park.
- A health fair, “Come Out & Play” event with Oakland County Parks, a jazz & blues concert with the Southfield Public Library, a local talent show and food trucks.
- A Southfield student art show and adult art show in conjunction with the Detroit Breakfast Club, both at the Southfield Pavilion.
- The AKA Juneteenth Black Tie Banquet.
Warmup events for the celebration begin the week prior with the first of the Eat to the Beat lunchtime concert series and food truck event on Thursday, June 11, followed by the Saturday, June 13 Take Steps walk for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, an annual affair that raises funds and awareness.
Juneteenth Week will culminate in the Mayor’s Juneteenth Fun Walk on the morning of Saturday, June 20. Kicking off at the Southfield Municipal Campus on Evergreen Road, the walk will guide participants on a fun community-building walk along the City Centre’s shared-use trail through Civic Center Drive and along the Northwestern Hwy. service drive, right through the iconic Red Pole Park interactive art installation.
Various Junteenth events target service goals of AKA, including awareness of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, women’s health, economic empowerment and celebrations of the arts, dance and theater, Kyles said.
In the audience of the December 2019 Southfield City Council meeting were members of AKA and numerous other service fraternities and sororities to pledge their support and volunteer commitments for Junteenth Week.
Mark your calendar and visit this site often for forthcoming updates on Juneteenth Week 2020 in the Southfield City Centre!