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Recognized on June 19, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. The historic event took place June 19, 1865.

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture will host its annual Juneteenth Gala celebration—just a little differently this year. The event will be held virtually on June 19 at 7:00 p.m.

MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price checked in with Kimberly Kersey, Executive Director at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture and Tisa Rabun-Marshall, Assistant Vice President Direct to Consumer Marketing at Nassau and Juneteenth Gala Co-Chair to learn more.

NAN PRICE: As the entire world is responding to a global pandemic and recent events surrounding racial injustice, this year’s celebration is obviously going to be very different—and very powerful.

KIMBERLY KERSEY: Yes. Juneteenth is historically a time for jubilation. A specific day where we reflect on emancipation from slavery and the bundle of emotions that stirs, specifically for African Americans.

Recent events make this year’s Juneteenth even more poignant. A stark reminder that we, as a nation, need to recommit to truly ending black oppression and confronting racism where we see it.

TISA RABUN-MARSHALL: The Juneteenth Gala will look different this year—and not just because we are going virtual. Recent tragedies show the continued challenges our communities face to realize the equality that emancipation promised. That makes the need to understand and reflect during the 155th annual holiday of Juneteenth even more important.

NAN: What can attendees expect at the virtual Gala?

TISA: We’ll encourage our guests to think about the significance of the occasion, while infusing some of the musical and artistic elements typically enjoyed in person. The night will also be an opportunity to financially support The Amistad Center’s mission and vision to open minds and change lives.

KIMBERLY: It’s always been our mission at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture to celebrate and elevate black culture and the Juneteenth Gala continues to do just that.

Learn more about Juneteenth Gala and register to attend the Juneteenth Gala.