Lydia Morgan of Kennedy Heights is concerned about contemporary social justice issues as she prepares to celebrate Juneteenth Cincinnati 2023. Morgan and her husband, Noel, began presenting the Juneteenth celebration in Cincinnati in 1988, inviting people from their party guest lists and those of their friends.
They would celebrate and remember June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Texas were read the Emancipation Proclamation and learned that they were no longer enslaved. Two years earlier, the proclamation was recognized throughout the United States. Today, the Juneteenth Cincinnati Inc. celebration is turning 36, and it has grown from that homemade guest list to a staple event in June with multiple activities and events in the Queen City.
Recognizing Juneteenth this year is as important as ever, Morgan said, seeing a link between the celebration to contemporary social justice challenges across the country.
“Georgia (in 2021) made it illegal to give water to a person standing in line to vote. Who would have thought something as basic as being denied water would be used to keep you from voting?” she said.
Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. Morgan calls the holiday an American celebration because Juneteenth represents American history, she said. “People today are not responsible for what they did back then. They are responsible for now. You only have control over what you do now.”
Activities are scheduled throughout June, highlighted by day-long events June 17-18 in Eden Park.