News Release

University of Minnesota presents inaugural Juneteenth Celebration and Commemorative March: Was. Is. Will Be

Honoring Our Black Past, Black Present, Black Future


MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (5/24/22) — On Saturday, June 18, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities will host its inaugural U of M Juneteenth Celebration from noon to 6 p.m. in North Minneapolis.

This free block party and commemorative march — centering on the theme of Was. Is. Will Be: Black Past, Black Present, Black Future — will feature Black vendors, speakers, teach-ins, storytellers, musicians, performers, DJs, roller skating, books, free food, free haircuts, mural and art-making, and more. The event will begin with a commemorative march at noon from Willard Park at 1626 Queen Ave. N. to the University’s Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) at 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., where the outdoor block party will take place from 1 to 6 p.m.

Speakers, musicians and performers include Keith Mayes, Brandyn Lee Tulloch, Jason Sole, Tish Jones, Leslie E. Redmond, DJ Brit, DJ Aries Firebomb, JayGee, Logik, Libianca, The Lioness and more! Food vendors include Sammy’s Avenue Eatery, Momma Rose Catering, Nashville Coop, Jambo Africa, and Quiet Cat Bakery. Lisa Moy, actress and GO95.3 radio host, will emcee the event. Visit for a complete list of vendors, performers and activities. 

The U of M Juneteenth Celebration is the brainchild of Black leaders, faculty, staff and students at the University of Minnesota. Associate Vice Provost for Equity Keisha Varma said, “As we imagined what this event would be, we knew we wanted to celebrate and acknowledge Juneteenth with our community. The shared vision recognizes that there must be organizational accountability, further investment in our communities, disruption and dismantling of white supremacy and a focus on community care.”

“The event will be centered around Blackness and the Black experience,” said event director Terresa Moses, an assistant professor and Director of Design Justice in the College of Design. “Blackness is intersectional and involves a variety of genders, sexualities, abilities, economic statuses and more. This celebration is nuanced as we plan to recognize and validate the holistic Black experience. We will commemorate the lives of the Black men, Black women and Black non-binary folx lost due to police brutality while also making room for celebration and community connection with performances, speeches, a march and a commemorative moment of silence.” 

Celebration partners include Black Garnet Books, Blackbird Revolt, DanSan Creatives, FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. – Gamma Tau Chapter, Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery, PBS’s Jim Crow of the North, Pollen Midwest, Render Free, Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center, The African American Interpretive Center of Minnesota (AAICM), Twin City Skaters, TruArtSpeaks, and the U of M Black Faculty & Staff Association. 

The celebration is supported by the Carlson School of Management; College of Biological Sciences; College of Design; College of Education and Human Development; College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; College of Science and Engineering; College of Liberal Arts;  College of Pharmacy; College of Veterinary Medicine; Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Law School; Office of Human Resources, Office of the President, Office of Undergraduate Education; Office for Equity and Diversity, Medical School and Office of Academic Clinical Affairs; Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost; School of Dentistry; School of Nursing; School of Public Health; University Extension; and University Libraries.

Access the Juneteenth Celebration and Commemorative March media kit here.