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Juneteenth Food Celebration

June 20, 2022 - June 21, 2022

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, Black or white. It’s our basic human right.”  – Aretha Franklin, Musician 

“We are not ready to fight because we love fighting. We are ready to fight because we are worth fighting for.” Zoé Samudzi, Author and Activist 

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” Desmond Tutu, Human Rights Activist and Theologian  

As of 2021, Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States. It honors the emancipation of the enslavement of African Americans. On June 19, 1865, freedom for those enslaved was proclaimed in Texas, the last Confederate state with institutional slavery. President Abraham Lincoln actually issued the emancipation proclamation two years earlier, but due to intentional and unintentional efforts to hide the abolishment of slavery, thousands of Black and African American individuals did not see nor hear of their liberation till months and years later.  it took that long for the thousands of enslaved Black Americans to hear of their liberation. 

The following year, in 1866, the first Juneteenth celebration took place in Texas. Juneteenth was originally celebrated with prayer and song, as well as the wearing of new clothes to represent freedom. As the years went on, more and more states began to celebrate Juneteenth annually by continuing the tradition of prayer and song, and including educational/memorial events, family gathering, festivals, and food.  

How to celebrate Juneteenth in your department and at home:  

Participate in Local Events:  

Support local Black and African American businesses: 

Donate to charities that support Anti-Racism Equity and Equality such as: 

To celebrate Juneteenth and the representation of our BIPOC caregivers, join us on June 20-21 at the Colby Campus Cafeteria.   

Colby Campus Juneteenth Representation and Celebration Menu: 

  • Hibiscus-tinged punch (A part of Juneteenth celebrations since the beginning) 
  • Creole Jambalaya 
  • Black-eyed Pea Salad with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette 
  • Red Velvet Cake 

When it comes to the history behind traditional celebratory meals for Juneteenth, you first must share the importance of the color red. The historical importance of red food traces back to the times of enslavement. Because many of the more common foods of the day were white, green, or brown, there was an excitement that came with the rarity of eating red colored treats. Red is also used to bring recognition to the bloodshed of the past enslaved. 

While these foods have been used for generations to bring families together in moments of love and celebrations, they have also since been used to tokenize and demean the Black and African American Community.  

“While these foods are a staple for Juneteenth, following the Reconstruction period, white-controlled mass media vilified Black people’s consumption of these foods by creating racist food stereotypes to depict Black people as hog and chicken thieves and having a strange appetite for watermelon, says Miller. 

They created stereotypes to make African Americans look infantile, bestial, and to drive home the point that Black people should not be bestowed any rights,” Miller explains. “In newspaper articles, in illustrations, editorial cartoons, art, music, illustrations, for musical broadsides all these things, there was an increasing effort to create stereotypical images of African Americans to make them look this way. 

As Juneteenth gains more momentum, Miller says it’s important to always remember the holiday roots before celebrating. “Pay attention to the culture around it, understand the true meaning of Juneteenth, and then when it comes to the food, make it well to honor the culture, and just say where you got it from.”  

For more information regarding this, please see https://blackrestaurantweeks.com/juneteenth-food-history-bbq-watermelon-red-drinks/

If you have questions about the Juneteenth food celebration, please reach out to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Lead Brooke Chhina at [email protected] 


June 20, 2022
June 21, 2022


NWWA Diversity & Well-Being Committee
View Organizer Website