Every June, thousands of Jackson residents pack Horace Blackman Park in Downtown Jackson to celebrate Juneteenth. This year’s public Juneteenth event, which was organized by Jackson College, had to be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Wanting to make sure the holiday did not go unrecognized, the City of Jackson collaborated with Juneteenth event organizers on a special video message.
The video message was recorded in Horace Blackman Park and features Juneteenth organizers and Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies. It recognizes the importance of the holiday, which marks the end of African American slavery in the United States, and invites residents to safely celebrate at home. The video also acknowledges how this year’s celebration coincides with important discussions about racial equity. John Willis, a Juneteenth organizer and the City’s Chief Equity Officer, says he hopes this year’s Juneteenth will be a reminder of the importance of making Jackson a more equitable place for everyone. “We wanted to bring the event organizers and local leadership together for the video to show that we stand together, and commit ourselves to the diversity and inclusion of our community,” Willis said.
The following event organizers and officials participated in the video message:
- Mayor Derek Dobies, City of Jackson
- Vice Mayor Arlene Robinson, City of Jackson
- Commissioner Daniel Mahoney, Jackson County Board of Commissioners, District 7
- Kelly Crum, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Jackson College
- Lee Hampton, Chief Diversity Officer, Jackson College
- Kevin Brown, Chief Diversity Officer, Spring Arbor University
- Lezlie Bowles, Unity Chair, Baker College of Jackson
- Anthony Parker, Senior Financial Analyst, Consumers Energy
- John Willis, Chief Equity Officer, City of Jackson
The video will be posted on the City’s website and social media platforms on Friday, June 19. Also on Juneteenth in Jackson, the City is supporting a Black Lives Matter mural that is being painted on W. Washington Avenue in Downtown Jackson.