Where to Celebrate Juneteenth 2022 in Utah

The Fourth of July is still a couple of weeks away, but on June 19, Utahns are celebrating our country’s second independence day.  

This year, Juneteenth became a state holiday in Utah after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a law sponsored by Rep. Sandra Hollins, the first Black woman to serve in the Utah Legislature. This followed legislation that declared Juneteenth a federal holiday, which Joe Biden signed in 2021. Juneteenth has been celebrated by many Black Americans for decades, but the holiday gained broader recognition in 2020, after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others ignited widespread protests and increased attention toward racial injustice.    

Juneteenth celebrates emancipation from slavery. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it could not be enforced in the Confederate-controlled states. When the Civil War ended in 1865, Texas, the farthest west state in the Confederacy, was the last state to officially end slavery—on June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger told enslaved people in Galveston, Texas that the Civil War was over and that they were free. Since the end of the Civil War, the anniversary has been a local celebration of the end of slavery. Over time, Juneteenth expanded across the country, becoming a larger celebration of Black history and culture in the U.S.

Betty Sawyer, the Director of the African-American community group Project Success Coalition, led Utah’s first Juneteenth celebration 32 years ago. Sawyer and the Ogden-based Project Success Coalition still organize the Utah Juneteenth Festival, which this year includes a flag raising at the Salt Lake County Government Center, a three-day festival in Ogden and other community events throughout the month. Here are Juneteenth celebrations presented by the Project Success Coalition and other ways to honor Juneteenth this weekend and month in Utah:

WHAT: Salt Lake County Juneteenth Celebration
WHERE: Salt Lake County Government Center, SLC
WHEN: June 17, 11:30 a.m.

WHAT: Juneteenth Welcome Reception
WHERE: Copper Nickel, Ogden
WHEN: June 17, 6-11 p.m.

WHAT: Juneteenth at Utah State University
WHERE: Utah State University, Logan
WHEN: June 17-19

WHAT: Utah Juneteenth Celebration 
WHERE: Ogden City Amphitheater, Ogden
WHEN: June 18, 12-9 p.m.

WHAT: Salt Lake County Library Juneteenth Festival
WHERE: Viridian Event Center, West Jordan
WHEN: June 18, 4-9 p.m.

WHAT: Real Salt Lake Juneteenth Celebration
WHERE: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy
June 18, 7:30 p.m.  

WHAT: Summer of Color Celebration
WHERE: The Sun Trapp, SLC
WHEN: June 19, 12-6 p.m.

WHAT: Millcreek Skate Night
WHERE: Millcreek Common, Millcreek 
WHEN: June 19, 5-10 p.m.

WHAT: Salt Lake Juneteenth Celebration Walk
WHERE: Utah State Capitol, SLC
WHEN: June 20 at 10 a.m.

WHAT: Black Owned Business Expo
WHERE: The Gateway, SLC
WHEN: June 20 at 12 p.m.

WHAT: Utah Juneteenth Health and Wellness Day
WHERE: Gallivan Center, SLC
WHEN: June 20, 12-7 p.m.

WHAT: Excellence in Community Gospel Concert
WHERE: Gallivan Center, SLC
WHEN: June 20, 7-8:30 p.m.

WHAT: Juneteenth Flag Raising
WHERE: University of Utah Park Building, SLC
WHEN: June 21 at 9 a.m.

WHAT: Juneteenth Black Women’s Mural Project Unveiling with Better Days Utah
WHERE: 444 E. 600 South, SLC
WHEN: June 27

WHAT: North Salt Lake Juneteenth Celebration
WHERE: Legacy Park, North Salt Lake
WHEN: June 27, 5-8 p.m.

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Josh Petersen
Josh Petersenhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Josh Petersen is the former Digital Editor of Salt Lake magazine, where he covered local art, food, culture and, most importantly, the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. He previously worked at Utah Style & Design and is a graduate of the University of Utah.

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