Juneteenth | KUER 90.1

Juneteenth

Photo of an American flag waving in front of a red rock cliff
WeMcLaughlins via iStock

Independence Day is often seen as a day to commemorate the founding of the country, to reflect on American values and celebrate freedom. But as protests against racial injustices and police brutality continue in Utah and across the country, some are marking the holiday by focusing instead on the progress they hope to see. 

Photo of Juneteenth event attendees and organizers.
Emily Means / KUER

Salt Lake County raised the red, white and blue Juneteenth flag at a ceremony Friday morning, where Mayor Jenny Wilson proclaimed the county’s support of the holiday. Juneteenth — a mashup of the words June and nineteenth — commemorates the day when the last enslaved people were freed in 1865. 

Photo of a large crowd of protesters in Salt Lake City
Kelsie Moore for KUER

Friday marks the fourth year that Utah has officially recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday. It dates back to 1865, when the last enslaved people were freed in Texas. African-Americans celebrate it as their Independence Day. But this year’s celebration comes as the nation and the state are gripped by protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

Photo of northeast quadrant wetlands.
Brian Albers / KUER

Thursday morning, June 18, 2020