How to Celebrate Juneteenth


juneteenth flag. Des Moines MomJuneteenth is celebrated June 19, but do you and your family know what it is?

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in the United States of America. Learn more about the holiday and get involved in this year’s events at

Des Moines Mom is committed to addressing issues of racial injustice and violence in our community and our country and to learning about black history in order to better understand racism and the disparity it leads to. Juneteenth is a great time to learn more about black culture and recognize the significance of the day. Last year Congress passed a bill making it a federal holiday. 

How to Celebrate Juneteenth in Des Moines

  1. Go to Neighbor’s Day in Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines Saturday, June 17 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. This free family event will include music, art, history, raffles, and more. There will be multiple stages, vendors, and speakers celebrating black culture. 
  2. Check out the Juneteenth Festival at The District at Prairie Trail in Ankeny from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Join the Ankeny Community Network for live music, food, and activities in honor of Juneteenth. Kids will love the scavenger hunt and art activities. 
  3. Spend time learning about Galveston, Texas, the birthplace of Juneteenth.
  4. Throw a barbecue! Food brings people together, which is what this holiday is about. Serve prosperity sides like corn, cornbread, black-eyed peas, pork, potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes.
  5. Understand the Juneteenth flag and the significance of the colors red, green, and black. The flag features a bursting new star on the horizon which represents freedom, a new people, and a new star. Red symbolizes the millions of men and women who have lost their lives; many people wear red or have red drinks and desserts on the day. Black represents melanin, the soil of Africa, and black people, and green is for the fertile ground of Africa. 

Regardless of what you do for Juneteenth, I encourage you to do something. Learning about other cultures and holidays is one way to give them value and worth in our society. It may seem inconsequential to talk about a holiday that doesn’t relate to you, but it’s important! 


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