Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity, addresses the crowd at the 2023 Juneteenth event.

GVSU to celebrate Juneteenth through Jubilee breakfast, community events

The GVSU community is invited to celebrate Juneteenth at the second annual Juneteenth Jubilee breakfast from 8:30-10:00 a.m. on June 19 in the Richard M. DeVos Center University Club. Students, faculty and staff are also invited to attend a variety of local GVSU-sponsored events that commemorate the holiday.

“We are thrilled to invite our university to come together with food and music to celebrate and learn about the Grand Rapids Juneteenth festivities,” said Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity. “The university encourages all community members to support the Dickinson Park Dunumba on Wednesday, June 19, the original Juneteenth celebration in Grand Rapids. This event is an opportunity to reflect on the invaluable contributions of our Black students, faculty, and staff, recognizing this significant day for both contemplation and unity.”

Juneteenth commemorates the freedom of enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865. This was two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and abolished slavery. Texas was the final state in the Confederacy to receive word that the Civil War had ended.

Tickets are available for the Jubilee breakfast on GVSU’s Juneteenth website . Following the breakfast, the community is invited to participate in a variety of events on June 19:

Noon-1 p.m. – Junior Juneteenth Freedom Parade

  • Presented by West Michigan Jewels of Africa and the City of Grand Rapids. Celebrate the rich history and culture of our Black and African American communities. 
  • Parade Route: South 1200 Block Eastern Ave, SE, then west on Crofton and south on Linden into the Dickinson Buffer Park at 1635 Willard St. SE, Grand Rapids

Noon.-6 p.m. – 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration: On the Block 

  • GVSU is the presenting sponsor of the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration hosted by Sistas in Development. 
  • Location: Grand Rapids Media Initiative and Film Incubator, 1110 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

1-7 p.m. – Dickinson Park Dunumba 

  • Hosted by West Michigan Jewels of Africa, GVSU is the platinum sponsor of this year's event. This signature event is the original Juneteenth celebration in Grand Rapids. Those interested in volunteering can sign up through this form
  • Location: Dickinson Buffer Park, 1635 Willard St. SE, Grand Rapids

7 p.m. – Juneteenth "Block Party" Screening 

  • The made-in-GR film follows a recent Harvard graduate eager to pursue the next stage in her life away from her beloved hometown for a lucrative career in Atlanta. When she discovers that her grandma is suffering from dementia, she puts her career at stake in order to save her grandma's historic Juneteenth block party. Tickets can be purchased on the Grand Rapids Community Media Center website
  • Location: Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids


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