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Johnson County Juneteenth Events

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Juneteenth is a historical event that commemorates June 19, 1865, the date in history when, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, and read aloud the order freeing the quarter of a million slaves residing in the state.

The first major Juneteenth festival in Johnson County was held on June 26, 2011, at Mercer Park. The event was hosted by Club Kazi, a group founded by LaTasha DeLoach in 2007 and consisted of members who had a background in social work. Members of Club Kazi, whose name means “to work” in Swahili, brought resources to foster children through partnership with local social-service providers. Though the club ran workshops like the 2010 Save Our Children Conference, the 2011 Juneteenth celebration marked the group’s first free public gathering. Since then the event has grown and is now in its tenth year.

Thank you to the members of Club Kazi for starting this annual commemoration! We appreciate all of your efforts and laying the foundation for this event to grow and bring so many people together.

Upcoming Events

All events for Juneteenth Celebration are free and open to the public:

Juneteenth History Walk-In

June 13-19, 2021

Stop by participating Black-owned businesses and learn more about the history of Juneteenth and Black history in Johnson County. Pick up a punch card at any of the participating businesses, get it stamped at a least seven of the locations and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 or $50 gift card from one of the businesses.

Participating businesses:

Venus Beauty Supply
Textures Salon
Keto Kitchen
Dunn Brothers
Crepes De Luxe Café
Christina’s Unity Beauty Supply
A to Z Thrift Store
Basic Goods
First Class Boutiques
Tweety Juice Bar
Modina African Market
Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk
Island Vybz

Community Conversations “Real Talk” Discussion

Monday, June 14, 2021, 6:00 PM, Zoom

Join us in conversation with local community members as we discuss the following topics:

  • The importance of commemorating Juneteenth
  • Schools and if they are a reflection of our community
  • Police Reform
  • How have movements like Black Lives Matter changed how we advocate for social justice

Register to attend: 

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed, Book Discussion

Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 7:00 PM, Zoom

In honor of Juneteenth, the Johnson County Juneteenth Planning Committee invite you to participate in a book discussion featuring On Juneteenth by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Texas native Annette Gordon-Reed.

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, "On Juneteenth" provides a historian view of the country's long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. Read more here.

Register to attend: 

Education And Resource Fair

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 4:00 PM, Virtual

The Education & Resource Virtual Fair will feature opportunities to learn more about the variety of programs and resources in the community. This year's fair will feature sessions about financial literacy, wealth and the history of Juneteenth. First 100 people to register will get a swag bag containing items from participating vendors. We are also giving away a $100 and $50 HyVee gift card.

Participants are welcome to come and go throughout the event.  Check out the agenda below.
Networking: 4:00 - 4:20
Session 1: "What is Juneteenth?" 4:20 - 4:50
Networking: 4:50 - 5:10
Session 2: "Money Talk 101" 5:10 - 5:40
Networking: 5:40 - 6:00
Session 3: "Wealth Management" 6:00 - 6:30

Register to attend:

Participating Vendors are: GreenState Credit Union, TaxAct, Better Way Forward,Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America - Johnson County, Iowa City Fire Department, The Writers Room, Primerica Financial Services, Multicultural Development Center of Iowa, Domestic Violence Intervention Program, The Iowa Children's Museum, Amerigroup Iowa, Johnson County Democratic Central Committee, Iowa City Climate Advocates, Beloved Community Initiative, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, North Liberty Library, CommUnity Crisis Service and Food Bank, Rape Victim Advocacy Program, Community Action of Eastern Iowa, Amerigroup Iowa, UCLA Student Stroke Force, Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic, Emma Goldman Clinic, Johnson County Public Health, and Iowa Compass.

Block Party

Thursday, June 17, 2021, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Chauncey Swan Park

Join us for a night of family fun as we celebrate Juneteenth with a downtown community block party at Chauncey Swan Park on Thursday, June 17. The celebration will include food, music and a bounce house, along with a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. The event is free and open to the public. Please bring your own lawn chairs. An outside, free screening of Miss Juneteenth will follow the block party. Thank you to all of our sponsors: Johnson County Film Scene City of Iowa City City of Coralville City of North Liberty Iowa City Downtown District Think Iowa City Black Voices Project Dream City United Action for Youth and Team CAN.

Miss Juneteenth, Film Screening

Thursday, June 17, 2021, 8:40 PM

Chauncey Swan Park

Blood Drive

Saturday, June 19, 2021, 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Johnson County Administration Building Parking Lot

Most blood types are in urgent need right now. You can help! Click here to schedule an appointment

Meal Drive-Thru

Saturday, June 19, 2021, 11:00 AM

Riverfront Crossings Park

Drive through the Riverfront Crossings parking lot and pick up a free meal from Rodney's Jamaican Jerk & BBQ or Wich-Uh-Waffle. First come, first serve while supplies last.

Juneteenth t-shirts will be given away during the event.

Johnson County strives to host inclusive, accessible meetings and events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. To request a modification or for inquires about accessibility, please contact Keshia Fields at 319.356.6000 or [email protected] .

Juneteenth event flyer image

Juneteenth event flyer in PDF format