Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Jun Jun, and Liberation Day, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. In 2021, it is being recognized as an official New York State holiday.

ArtsWestchester, the Westchester African American Advisory Board, White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Inc. and the Juneteenth Committees of Mt. Vernon, Peekskill, Yonkers and Irvington have partnered up to celebrate Juneteenth Countywide. 

County Executive George Latimer said: “Juneteenth is a day to celebrate freedom. Freedom from oppression, freedom to be thrive, freedom to just be free. We recognize this freedom has too easily been denied for too long. Take this day to educate yourself about its true meaning and join us Countywide to celebrate that true, powerful meaning.”

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam said: “We are particularly proud to have collaborated with so many of the tradition keepers of Juneteenth’s call to remember – Westchester’s many African American organizations and Juneteenth committees - in order to create a comprehensive calendar of Juneteenth events in Westchester.”

Below are a list of celebrations in the month-long series of Juneteenth activities in Westchester County:

Bedford 

  • June 19: Idea Committee of Bedford will present Juneteenth: Freedom Day at Bedford Village Memorial Park. This outdoor event will discuss the history of Juneteenth and Bedford’s Black history told by members of the community, with performances by Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation and live jazz by Shirazette and Sonic Wallpaper Band. 2 - 4 p.m.
  • Idea Committee of Bedford is also challenging Elementary, Middle and High School students to create a poster that depicts the inventive ways African Americans advocated for, and ensured, their own freedom. Posters must be dropped off on June 5 or June 12 between 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Katonah Space. 

Irvington 

  • June 19: The Village of Irvington will celebrate its 2nd annual Juneteenth Celebration Rally. The event will include a panel discussion, as well as music featuring Nkumu Katalay and The Life Long Band Project.

Mount Vernon

  • June 19: The City of Mount Vernon will celebrate Juneteenth with a day of activities. Families and children will be able to play an interdepartmental Negro League game of baseball. The event will culminate with an in-person concert in Brush Park. 

New Rochelle

  • Throughout June: New Rochelle Council on the Arts presents “Juneteenth: A Narrative of Freedom​,” an exhibition in honor of the annual holiday in Rotunda Gallery at City Hall. The exhibition will be on view for the month of June. 
  • June 19: The City of New Rochelle, in partnership with The Lincoln Park Conservancy, Inc., will present "Passion and Perseverance," a community Juneteenth celebration 9am-9pm at multiple venues around the City. The celebration will include African dance performances, history presentations, films, jazz performances, dance, spoken word and more.​ A ceremonial flag raising will take place at City Hall (noon to 2 p.m.), followed by family-friendly activities, such as a scavenger hunt and crafts at the Thomas Paine Cottage (3-6pm).

Ossining 

  • June 19: The Juneteenth Council in Ossining, in collaboration with the Town of Ossining, will also host its second annual Juneteenth celebration at the Ossining Riverfront. The will feature spoken word, dance and musical performances. 12pm.

Peekskill

  • June 19: The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau will host a Juneteenth Freedom Day at Depew Park. The event will include music, spoken word, dance, freedom tributes and production by New Era Creative Space. 1 to 3 p.m.

Pelham

  • June 16: Pelham Public Library presents a Juneteenth Program with Artist Atiba Wilson. Wilson will present a lecture and demonstration, “We Who Believed in Freedom, Did Not Rest!,” that will discuss the participation of Blacks in the struggle for self-emancipation. Music, poetry and storytelling will be included in the presentation.​ 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.

White Plains 

  • June 19: Music Conservatory of Westchester will present a Juneteenth Celebration Concert. The concert will feature music by prominent composers, such as Adophus Hailstork and Herbie Hancock, performed by the school’s faculty, followed by a Q&A session with the performers. While the concert will have limited in-person seating available in the Conservatory’s Recital Hall, it will also be livestreamed. seven p.m.

Yonkers

  • June 18-20: The City of Yonkers and the Yonkers African American Heritage Committee will present its Citywide Juneteenth African Heritage Festival Weekend 2021 at Trevor Park. The festival will feature a flag-raising ceremony, worship service, live entertainment, educational symposium, kid’s activities, vendor market and food.

Virtual Events:

  • June 12: The City of White Plains will present its Juneteenth Heritage Festival, which will be held virtually. This program will have live music performances, a flag-raising ceremony and an ancestral prayer by Joseph Boykin, with Salim Ptah on drums, and more. The festival will also include past parade and festival footage. The 2021 theme, “Preserving Our Legacy”, illustrates the historical commitment of those who came before us and our determination to continue to fulfill their legacy.  This event will air on Fios channel 47, Optimum channel 75 and streamed live on the White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Facebook page. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • June 18: Westchester Community College will present a Juneteenth Celebration via Zoom. This celebration will feature music and discussions from multiple speakers to honor the day in 1865 when enslaved people within the states of Texas and Louisiana finally heard that they’d been freed, two months after the Civil War had ended. 11am- 1:30pm.
  • June 19: Peekskill NAACP will present a virtual Juneteenth Celebration via the organization’s YouTube page. This livestreamed event will celebrate the area’s matriarchs with songs of freedom. 6pm.

Watch the recording of ArtsWestchester’s Official Countywide Juneteenth Virtual Kick Off.

Online calendar of Juneteenth events

Other Westchester arts events