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JUNETEENTH IN MESA

Mesa to celebrate Juneteenth with performances, food, art and more

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The city of Mesa is partnering with Mesa Community College and the Mesa-East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee to host the first Juneteenth Celebration on June 19.

The day is recognized as Texas became the last state to announce President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that notified enslaved people that they were free in 1865.

The event will be held 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Mesa Community College on the Southern and Dobson campus. The event will hold a brief program at 7:15 p.m. that will include a city of Mesa proclamation commemorating Juneteenth.

The event’s theme is “Rooted in Resilience,” which a press release says embodies the strength, determination and perseverance of Black communities throughout history, as well as the ongoing struggles for equality and equity today.

“This Juneteenth proclamation carries the spirit of hope and an ongoing commitment to ensuring we all have the access and freedom to live, learn, earn, persevere and prosper in this society,” said Keisha McKinnor, chair of the Mesa-East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee.

The celebration at MCC will include activities such as a planetarium show, health screenings, a DJ music performance, a kids’ zone with games, arts and culture vendors, food trucks and more.

Arizona became the 45th U.S. state to observe Juneteenth and declare it a holiday in 2016. In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

“Mesa’s diversity is one of the strengths of our community, and I’m proud of the city’s work to advance issues of equity and ensure all people are treated fairly,” said Mayor John Giles. “Juneteenth is a monumental event in the history of America that reminds us not to lose focus on those values.”

Those looking for a ride to the event can get a $10 discount on Lyft rides to and from Mesa Community College using the code MESAJUNETEENTH when booking the ride. The discount only applies for the first 100 people who use it.