PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – June 19th is known as “Juneteeth” marking the end of slavery in the United States when the final slaves were emancipated in 1865.

This year’s celebration comes alongside protests and marches across the country after several incidents of violence against African Americans by police officers.

In Pittsburgh, it falls on the two-year anniversary of a police shooting.

On June 19, 2018, Antwon Rose II was shot and killed by East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld. Rosfeld was later acquitted.

June 19, 2020 is the first anniversary of Pennsylvania declaring June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to reflect on the importance of the state holiday and the continued need for a fair and just society.

He said this is a moment to honor African-American history and reflect on how all of us can promote equality, liberty, and justice for all people.

Several Juneteenth events will take place around Pittsburgh on Friday including a balloon release at 10:00 a.m. for Antwon Rose II in East Pittsburgh and a sit-in in East Pittsburgh to commemorate his death at noon, hosted by the Allegheny County Black Activist/Organizer Collective.

Following those, a Freedom Day Walk will take place at Freedom Corner in the Hill District at 1:00 p.m.

JUNETEENTH EVENTS IN PITTSBURGH

  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Picnic, Frick Environmental Center, 5:00 p.m.
  • Aliquippa Juneteenth Celebration, 1:00 p.m., Saturday, June 20
  • Stop The Violence Pittsburgh, Facebook Live event discussing the history of Juneteenth and commemorating historic black landmarks in Pittsburgh
  • Carnegie Science Center, Facebook Live event highlighting pioneering black scientists
  • CCAC, a forum discussing the 13th and 15th amendments
  • Penn Hills and Wilkinsburg will hold a celebration on August 22 in Mellon Park
  • The Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Celebration will host its annual family cookout and barbecue competition on August 29 at Point State Park
  • June 23, black female mayors of several cities will take part in a forum discusing leaders of the black women’s sufferage movement beginning at 6:00 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theaater
  • The Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Celebration has been postponed and will be held on August 28 at Point State Park