Community Outreach of The Des Moines Urban Experience What Is Juneteenth? On April 11, 2002, legislation was signed into law by former Governor Tom Vilsack, currently the United States Secretary of Agriculture, establishing Juneteenth as an official day of recognition in Iowa to be annually observed on the third Saturday in June. On October 28, 2015 Gary Lawson, founder of the Iowa Juneteenth Observance signed a formal agreement that passed on custodianship of the observance from the Connect Foundation to the Des Moines Urban Experience magazine. "Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States."
It's About Legacy, It's About Fun!
What Are We All About? Mission The primary mission of the Iowa Juneteenth Observance is to educate Iowans on the history of Juneteenth and to preserve Juneteenth history for future generations. Strategies The strategies of the Iowa Juneteenth Observance are to present activities via platforms that promote freedom, liberty, and responsible citizenship by addressing the needs for economic, social and political development. Platforms The platforms of the Iowa Juneteenth Observance consist of: 1) "Essay Contest" Open to all high school students across Iowa in grades 9-11 to promote scholarship, cultural diversity, and community engagement 2) "Community Builders Appreciation Banquet" Recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of individuals across Iowa. 3) "Governor's Proclamation Ceremony" Highlights the law that establishes Juneteenth as a holiday in Iowa, which is annually observed on the third Saturday in June. 4) "Urban Parade" and "Neighbors Day" Annually held on the third Saturday in June and focus on economic, social, and political development. 5) "Juneteenth in Iowa Museum Exhibit" Annually placed on display in the Iowa State Historical Building during the months of May and June. 2016 Copyright Iowa Juneteenth Observance. All Rights Reserved.