By: Carter Doose, A Student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as part of Heather Nelson’s Service Learning Academy class.
The Omaha Freedom Festival: the celebration of Juneteenth. You may ask, what is the holiday of Juneteenth and what does it celebrate? According to Wikipedia.org, Juneteenth started being celebrated in 1865 and is a “holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.” To find more history and origins of this holiday, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth
The Juneteenth holiday in North Omaha, Nebraska has many activates and opportunities to interact with others from the community to learn more about the celebration. Normally, one of those activities would include the parade, organized by the NAACP, starting at 10am and ending around noon the day of the celebration. Unfortunately, it will not be taking place this year due to COVID concerns. The parade would usually be immediately followed by an activity packed festival located the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation from noon until 6:30pm. All of the activities listed on https://omahafreedomfestival.com include a fun and safe environment for everyone attending. The activities include, health screenings, concession stands, a kidz zone, and many other great activities to attend.
The location chosen for the festival and ending concert are both located at the Malcom X Memorial Foundation (3448 Evans Street, Omaha, NE 68111). You may wonder, why at the Malcom X Memorial? The reason behind this specific location for the festival and concert for the Juneteenth celebration is because of who and what Malcolm X did for the African American community. Malcom X was “one of the most pivotal figures in civil rights history. His powerful words captured the attention of a country, encouraging empowerment and inspiring pride in black heritage.” His words touched millions and millions of people around the United States which is why I think the Malcom X Memorial is a perfect place for the Juneteenth festival and concert.
The Juneteenth celebration is not just a festival to celebrate the emancipation of slavery, it is about getting together with the North Omaha community. During these times of mask mandations and social distancing, it may be hard to communicate and be with others the way we would like to. During this celebration, the community of Omaha and surrounding areas will all come together to celebrate this great holiday as a whole while following CDC recommendations and other health precautions.
When slavery was abolished, African Americans around the United States were finally free. This Juneteenth celebration taking place in North Omaha on June 19th, 2021 is to celebrate and understand the history and culture of North Omaha along with bringing people together. I personally believe that this festival is a great thing for the city of Omaha and its citizens. It is a fun and safe way to bring families from other ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures all together to celebrate a great holiday. This will be a celebration that you would not want to miss! This holiday only comes once a year and is a great way to stay activate during these challenging times! For information and tickets, please visit https://omahafreedomfestival.com