Patricia Lyons is head of the local Association of Black Social Workers.
Nick Evans / WOSU

At Bicentennial Park on Friday night, a group of Black men and women who work in the criminal justice system capped off a day of Juneteenth commemorations, while a more raucous affair took place at the Ohio Statehouse steps.

The dance group Dance Elite Performance Academy performs at a Juneteenth celebration.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

As hundreds of Columbus residents celebrated Juneteenth on the city’s East Side, the city government moved to formally recognize June 19 as a holiday.

Terrance Curtain has attended a few different demonstrations around Cleveland since the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Sometimes, the pastor and assistant school principal speaks about racial inequality. Sometimes, he leads the crowd in chants.

But when he started thinking about how he wanted to mark Juneteenth this year, he imagined something different.

Corporate executives and sports officials are joining a growing number of elected officials who want to recognize Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery, as an official U.S. holiday. The movement is being fueled by the Black Lives Matter protests demanding reforms following the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25.

Juneteenth, which is on June 19, has long been an important holiday in the African American community, a time for celebration rather than mourning and remembrance.