Skip to main content

Albuquerque Celebrates Juneteenth on Civic Plaza

The community comes together to recognize this important holiday.
June 15, 2024

Today, the Community commemorated Juneteenth with a celebration on Civic Plaza, organized by the New Mexico Juneteenth committee, the Black Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque's Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), and the Office of Black Community Engagement (OBCE), Councilor Nicole Rogers and Mayor Tim Keller.

The 2024 Juneteenth Celebration on Civic Plaza began with a Black Cultural Ceremony that honored the community's ancestors. Community members were encouraged to contribute to the community altar that was part of the ceremony. Educational presentations, activities for all ages, music, performances, vendors, and the Black Business Summit will continue throughout the day, the celebration will go on until 11 PM today.

"Juneteenth is an important part of our history, and in Albuquerque, we show up to honor and celebrate it," said Mayor Time Keller. "The Black community makes our city a better place in countless ways, and we will continue to work together to build a more inclusive and equitable Albuquerque for everyone."

The Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI) department was established by Mayor Tim Keller in 2018 and continues its mission of making Albuquerque a national role model of racial equity and social justice. OEI"s Office of Black Community Engagement (OBCE) and OEI's Culture Change Leader, Tim Green IV, are influencing policy to make sure that the Black community has equitable access to the the resources they need to thrive.

One of OBCE's goals is to increase homeownership opportunities in the Black community by 5%. OBCE is also working to make business development more equitable, ensuring that Black business owners have access to city contracting, business training, and grant opportunities.

Believing that true equity can only come when there has been systemic change, Green has started a Racial Equity Action Plan cohort to create strategies that will increase equity throughout the City. OBCE and Green have also partnered with the Black Student Union, hosting conversations to help improve the treatment of Black students in the school system, and fostering an environment where Black students feel safe and valued while learning.

"New Mexico has a rich history with Juneteenth," said Tim Green, OEI's Culture Change Leader. "New Mexico's tricultural myth has led us to think that the Black community is new to the state, but that is not true, Black folk have been here since 1539.

Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.

"This Juneteenth we embody the spirit of "Sankofa," in the African tradition symbolic of returning to our roots. We don't progress without those who have paved the way. Dr. Opal Lee, the Grandmother of Juneteenth continues to walk 2.5 miles annually for freedom," said Neema Picket, OBCE"s African American Community Liaison. "She is the tree, we are the many branches, her activism to see Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday today possible.

"The community made this date possible," said Sonya Lara, Director of Equity and Inclusion. "This 12-hour event was a collaborative effort by the at New Mexico Juneteenth, Councilor Rogers, The Office of Equity 8Inclusion, The Office of Community Engagement, and the Black Chamber of Commerce. No one could have pulled this effort off on their home. The City is proud to be a part of it.