Celebrating Juneteenth 2023 in the City of Madison
On June 6th, 2023 the City of Madison and Dane county raised the Juneteenth flag on the City-County building to honor Juneteenth. In 2021, Madison joined other municipalities in making the Monday following Juneteenth a paid holiday. This year, once again, the Juneteenth Day Flag will fly in front of the Madison Municipal Building and the City-County Building. This federal holiday recognizes the history, contributions and resilience of African Americans in our country.
On June 19, 1865, enslaved persons in Texas learned they were free; two years after the emancipation proclamation had been signed. Deep in the Confederacy, they were unaware of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation almost two years earlier. They were the final group of enslaved people to realize their freedom. A celebration of the day has been held annually in Texas ever since, which eventually spread to other states.
Madison has a long history of celebrating Juneteenth. In 1990, a group of Madison’s Black community leaders collaborated with the Madison Inner City Council on Substance Abuse to implement the Juneteenth Celebration. From the beginning, Madison’s Juneteenth Celebration has been a family-centered, wholesome, drug-and alcohol-free event that children and families could enjoy, according to a statement on the website.
Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self-Determination will host Madison’s Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 17, noon-6 pm, at Penn Park. The theme this year will be “Juneteenth 2023…Black Resilience: Collective Liberation and Transformation.”
“It's an example of the significance of the shared emancipation across the nation for those whose ancestors were once enslaved across the Diaspora,” according to Annie Weatherby-Flowers, long-time Juneteenth organizer. The theme reflects the current national climate and concerns, Weatherby-Flowers said. Juneteenth is the one event that is totally dedicated to the lived experiences and accomplishments of Black Americans here in Madison and across the nation, according to Kujichagulia.
The lived experience of Black Americans has always been about resilience, strength and progress. The American Psychological Association recognizes resilience as the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences. “It’s your ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns,” says Amit Sood, MD, the executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being. Black resilience is evident Citywide and nationwide. We see it in the arts, education, science, business and literally every aspect of life. It is that amazing ability to adapt, and in fact to thrive, in the face of challenges.
Juneteenth 2023 will be hosted by Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self- Determination Inc. in collaboration with many community partners including; All of Us–Research Project, UW WID/WARF, Urban League of Greater Madison, United Way, Madison Black Greek Organizations, African American Council of Churches, Madison Public Library, 100 Black Men of Madison, Women in Focus, the City of Madison Community Policing, Meriter Hospital Community Engagement Department, First Unitarian Society, Music make Madison, Madison Jazz and Blues Fests, the African Association of Madison, African Women Association, the Caribbean Association and Madison College.