Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the official end of slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery in 1863, enforcement in all the states took several years. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers reached Galveston, TX, that all enslaved people in the country were finally freed.
The City of Boulder is committed to honoring and celebrating the important history of Juneteenth as it aligns with our core values of justice and racial equity. We acknowledge the horrors of slavery and the important lessons of our shared history. We recognize the contributions of Black and African American people to our community, state and country.
The city is committed to strengthening partnerships and collaborating with community members and organizations that demonstrate a commitment to ending racism in alignment with the Racial Equity Plan, and to supporting safe and welcoming environments for people with diverse identities in alignment with the city’s Housing and Human Services Strategy.
Juneteenth Celebrations in Boulder
Juneteenth 2021 marked the inaugural Boulder County Juneteenth Celebration. This virtual event, led by the Executive Committee for African American Cultural Events (ECAACE) and NAACP Boulder County Branch, was funded in part by the city’s Human Relations Fund (HRF). Boulder City Council shared a Juneteenth Declaration, the city hosted a flag raising ceremony and the Penfield Tate II Municipal Building was renamed.
At the beginning of June 2022, the City of Boulder designated Juneteenth as an official holiday and observed Juneteenth on Monday, June 20. The HRF again supported events held by the ECAACE and NAACP Boulder County Branch. These celebrations honored and better educated the community of the independence that Juneteenth represents for Black or African American community members and the history of this county.
Learn more about Juneteenth celebrations in Boulder on the city's website.
After the 2022 Juneteenth celebrations commenced, the city launched an engagement campaign to gather perspectives and recommendations for future Juneteenth celebrations in Boulder.
Engagement opportunities included a survey which was distributed digitally to community partners and the community at large, conversations with previous grantees and community members were invited to a public hearing held during the July Human Relations Commission (HRC) meeting. At the public hearing, city staff presented information about how the city has supported past Juneteenth celebrations and participants had a chance to share their input on what they would like to see the city do in the future.
Madelyn Woodley, with the Executive Committee for African American Cultural Events ECAACE shared, “These celebrations bring to life ECAACE’s Five Pillars: Education, Tribute, Celebration, Solidarity [and] Service. Ultimately, I feel it represents positive change [and] growth for our Boulder County communities. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.”
Participants were happy with the direction that the city has taken so far and discussed the importance of focusing on youth and interest in approaching celebrations from an educational perspective. HRC Commissioner C. Chen inquired about the creation of a designated fund to support future events.
Based on community feedback and HRC support, the city’s 2023 budget allocates $5,000 from the Human Relations Fund and $5,000 from the Office of Arts and Culture to support future Juneteenth celebrations. The city looks forward to supporting future Juneteenth celebrations and working with partners county-wide to grow and amplify future celebrations.
2023 Juneteenth Grant Opportunities
Information about 2023 Juneteenth Grants will be released in early 2023. To be the first to know about upcoming grant opportunities, visit the city’s website to subscribe to the Housing and Human Services monthly email newsletter.