OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University will help sponsor Utah’s 30th Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival, which marks the end of slavery in the U.S. Events will take place across Northern Utah June 14-16 and 19.

“We are currently experiencing issues around racism, inequality and discrimination,” said Betty Sawyer, WSU Access & Diversity community engagement coordinator. “Without coming to terms with the legacy of slavery, and all of its byproducts, we spend more time denying than making meaningful progress dismantling those systems embodied within slavery and racism. Instead, we need to promote and do the work of justice and equality.”

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Celebrations first began in Texas following the end of the Civil War. In 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth a state holiday. In 2016, Utah officially recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday.

“Juneteenth provides us an opportunity to engage in a fuller celebration and understanding of American freedom,” said Adrienne Andrews, WSU vice president for diversity. “It is also a helpful reminder of what is at stake when we fail to recognize the full humanity of those different from ourselves.”

Juneteenth Events

June 14, Summit and Discussion

The Wealth Building Summit will take place June 14 from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at WSU Davis Building D3 (2750 University Park Blvd., Layton). The summit will cover the basics of financial empowerment.

The State of Black Utah Town Hall will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at WSU Davis Building D3. The program will include a reception and roundtable discussion honoring the voices of youth. The Mr. and Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant winners also will be crowned.

June 15 & 16, Juneteenth Parade and Festival

The Juneteenth Parade will take place June 15 at11 a.m. beginning at the Marshall White Community Center (222 28th St., Ogden) and ending at the Ogden City Amphitheater (343 E 25th St, Ogden).

The main festival event will take place June 15 and 16 from noon-9 p.m. at the Ogden City Amphitheater. The celebration will include music, storytelling, food, games and live entertainment.

June 16 is the Father’s Day Tribute. The day will include a gospel music celebration, featuring national recording artists Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Zenobia Smith. The celebration will also include the inaugural Willie Moore and Billy Mason “Golden Clipper Barber Battle,” honoring two icons in the Salt Lake and Ogden communities. Both men served as informal mentors and counselors while providing personal grooming for countless men and women of all ages and backgrounds, including many Utah Jazz players, college students and local residents over the decades.

The evening will also highlight local jazz legend, Joe McQueen, who turned 100 on May 30. He will play at the amphitheater at 7 p.m.

June 19 (Juneteenth), Heritage Celebration

The culminating event for the 30th anniversary of Juneteenth will be held from 5-9 p.m. at the Gallivan Center (239 Main St., Salt Lake City) in partnership with Excellence in the Community, the Salt Lake NAACP and Utah Black Chamber of Commerce.  The family friendly celebration will include food, games and entertainment. The Wellness Bus and Utah Department of Health will provide health information and screenings.

Visit projectsuccessinc.org for more information.

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.


Betty Sawyer, Access & Diversity community engagement coordinator 801-644-1402 • bettysawyer@weber.edu


Ross Rosier, Office of Marketing & Communications 801-626-7948 • rossrosier@weber.edu