Utah commemorates Juneteenth with events and festivities

For more than 150 years, Juneteeth has been celebrated across the country to commemorate the day enslaved Black Americans in Texas first learned of their emancipation by the proclamation made by Abraham Lincoln. Since then, Juneteenth has become a time to celebrate the experience and pursuit of freedom and unity. 

In 2022, Governor Spencer J. Cox signed a law to make Juneteenth National Freedom Day a state holiday, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. This was made possible by Rep. Sandra Hollins, Utah’s first Black female legislator, who sponsored the bill to make this a reality. We also acknowledge the many leaders and contributors who bring awareness to the significance of this holiday, including Ms. Betty Sawyer of Project Success Coalition, who created the Juneteenth celebration in Utah 32 years ago.

This year, there are more than 25 events honoring Juneteenth in Utah, headlined by the Utah Juneteenth Celebration at the Ogden City Amphitheater on Saturday, June 18. Governor Cox attended and spoke at the event. To view the photo gallery from his appearance, click here.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Health Equity (OHE) joins the state and the nation in honoring this moment in history. Click here to view the remaining schedule of Juneteenth events and other engagement efforts.