The University of Olivet is proud to be a sponsor of the 2017 Lansing Juneteenth Celebration. Held on various dates throughout June, Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the U.S. with several events, including entertainment, a parade, contests and programs. This year marks the 24th annual celebration, beginning with the State-Capitol Kick-Off Luncheon Program on Thursday, June 8. The event will be held on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in the Speaker’s Library beginning at 11 a.m.
As part of the Lansing Juneteenth Celebration, an essay contest for area students in grades eighth through 12th is held each year. The University of Olivet sponsored the contest for the second year by awarding scholarships to the winners of the category III (grades 11-12) essay competition. A $15,000 and $12,000 The University of Olivet Academic Talent Scholarship will be awarded to the first and second place winners respectively. These scholarships are awarded to students who enrich the campus community through their involvement in talent-based participation opportunities. The winners will be announced at the Essay Awards Program held at the Capitol Area District Library Downtown branch on Saturday, June 10 from 1 – 3 p.m.
Activities resume the following week, including the Lansing City Hall Kick-Off Program & Reception on Thursday, June 15. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., the event will include special recognitions, refreshments and entertainment by talented performers and presenters. Michigan legislative members, Lansing public officials and area community leaders will be in attendance.
Events continue on Friday, June 16 in St. Joseph Park with the Freedom Festival, opening at 3 p.m. Entertainment will start at 5 p.m. and a commemorative ballgame with special tribute to the Negro League will follow at 6:19 p.m. After the game, there will be more musical performances.
The festival continues through Saturday, June 17 at St. Joseph Park. Events begin at 10 a.m. with the African-American Parade, starting at Letts Community Center. The parade honors the late Rev. Dr. Michael C. Murphy, founder and pastor of St. Stephen’s Community United Church of Christ in Lansing, president of Lansing City Council in 1999-2000, and Michigan House of Representatives member from 2000-06. The Peace Walk and performances will follow at 12 p.m. and continue throughout the afternoon
Events at St. Joseph Park also include food and merchant vendors, children’s activities, a health fair and educational exhibits.
The Lansing Juneteenth Celebration is a project of Progressive Empowerment Education Resource Services (PEERS) 501(c)(3), headquartered at Mask Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The University of Olivet Dean of Student Life Linda Logan, Ph.D., serves on the PEERS board. Learn more about event details or RSVP for a Juneteenth event.