Juneteenth celebrations in Kansas City over the last eight years have included parades, First Friday events, arts, marketplaces, live music and more, but this year, the community’s favorite celebration will be a virtual event.

 When COVID-19 cases began increasing in March and the quarantine ensued, the planning committee refused to completely cancel Juneteenth celebrations this year.

 “Other big (Juneteenth) events said they would cancel, but we took the initiative to provide something for our community, so we’re still present, still able to educate and provide content,” said Makeda Peterson, program director of Juneteenth-KC.

Peterson said they really had to think out of the box to make Juneteenth still happen because she knew how much families in Kansas City look forward to the events.

All but one Juneteenth-KC event will all take place on Zoom and can be accessed from the Juneteenth-KC website. The only event that will be in person is the Urban Community Connections Mobile Pantry. If you’re hungry or know someone who is, send them to the Mobile Pantry, Mon., June 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Samuel Rodgers Health Center, 825 Euclid, KCMO.

While the group is still working to grow their list of virtual events, so far, they’ve scheduled workshops featuring Mayor Quinton Lucas, counselor and crisis clinician Vladimir Sainte and author LeAndrea Mack. Still to come is a youth portal on the Juneteenth-KC website with how-tos for gardening, easy recipes and reading lists and, an exercise zone designed to drive fitness.

Juneteenth KC maintains a college and career resource portal on their website all year round.  For Juneteenth, they’ve scheduled nine live college talks with representatives from Historic Colleges and Universities.  The series kicks off June 6 with a live talk with representatives from Tennessee State University at 10 a.m.  Scheduled live talks for June 13 are the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff at noon and Morehouse College, 2 p.m.  Other live talks scheduled on Saturdays in June includes FAMU, Xavier, Langston, Spelman, and Huston-Tilloston.

Other events they’re working to finalize are live talks with several Netflix show producers and Shawn Edwards, a film critic, and award-winning journalist will also lead live discussions.

Peterson believes that online Juneteenth events will give attendees more flexibility.  In addition, by taking Juneteenth virtual, she said they have broadened the Kansas City celebration into possibly a national celebration.

 “It makes it just more accessible if people can just jump in and they don’t have to worry about what they look like,” Peterson said. “They can put their phone on mute and they can join a zoom from a car.”

Next year will be Juneteenth-KC’s 10-year anniversary, so Peterson and they hope to make the event bigger and better, if it will still be safe to do so.

Upcoming Juneteenth-KC Events:

June 6 – NBA 2K20 1v1 Online Competition  The competition kicks off this Saturday but continues through the month of June with every Saturday competition.  For information on registering visit www.Juneteenth-KC.com.

June 6, 11 to 11:30 a.m. – Mayor Quinton Lucas & Friends Forum Discussion: How to engage in city politics as a community member. The Mayor’s role in city government. How to promote change within your district.

June 20 – Mayor Quinton Lucas & Friends COVID-19 Discussions: Next steps to opening the city. How will we now live with COVID-19, community resources.

June 20, 11 to 11:30 a.m. – Talk with Vladimir Sainte a counselor and crisis clinician who is committed to providing supportive counseling, not just with children, but through a partnership with their families and the broader community members for a holistic impact on a child’s development.  Come listen, learn, and ask questions.

June 20, 1p.m. – LeAndrea Mack: The Start Writing Workshop Interactive offers an introduction to writing techniques, how to publish, format, and editing. This free interactive workshop is an introduction to the how-to guide “Start Writing” a compilation of tools used by this three-time Essence Bookstore Author and Kansas City People’s Choice Award Best Author finalist.

For more information about these and future events, visit: https://www.juneteenth-kc.com

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Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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