The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission will kick off the Juneteenth federal holiday with a commemoration at the Arkansas State Capitol on Saturday, June 18, at 10:00 a.m. on the Capitol steps. “Broadway” Joe Booker, the Power92 Jams Disc Jockey, will present as the keynote speaker at the free and public event. Booker has previously been recognized for his contributions to hosting the inaugural Juneteenth celebrations in Central Arkansas.
The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission invites the public to join in the program “Juneteenth the Experience: A Moment in History.” Highlights of the event include commemorative reflections, artistic presentations by youth performing arts groups and a theatrical presentation of the events leading up to Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, known as “America’s second independence day,” is a special celebration for communities around the U.S. that commemorates the end of slavery. Named as a combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth as a national holiday in 2021.
“Juneteenth is a celebratory event, however, we want to educate audiences, focus on the historical aspect, the significance of Juneteenth and why it is now a federal holiday,” said DuShun Scarbrough, executive director of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. “This is our opportunity to educate the youth who will be in attendance and connect them to the history, legacy and heritage of Juneteenth. We want attendees to walk away with an understanding of the Juneteenth holiday, and why we are celebrating it.”
The mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, which is a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, is to promote and preserve the life and legacy of Dr. King in Arkansas, promoting the principles of nonviolence and equality among all citizens. Community outreach projects of the commission are designed to promote education, an appreciation for history and to encourage youth to engage in positive leadership development and roles within their communities.