Chandler, Tempe invite people of all races to Juneteenth celebrations of emancipation

Valley music icon Walt Richardson will perform at Tempe Juneteenth festivities. Chandler also plans a celebration that acknowledges emancipation. –Photo courtesy of Downtown Tempe Authority

It’s a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., a joyous occasion also known as Emancipation Day.

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It’s Juneteenth, and Chandler and Tempe have festivities planned to mark the occasion.

Chandler’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Division is partnering with several organizations and community leaders to host four Juneteenth celebratory events.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with various local community members and organizations to help educate residents about the significance of Juneteenth,” DEI Program Manager Niki Tapia said. “These events provide an opportunity to celebrate freedom and reflect on the current struggle that continues for justice and equality — all while supporting our local Black community.”

“Juneteenth” combines “June” and “nineteenth,” to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.

“As we celebrate Juneteenth 2022, we know the importance and value of remembering the past,” said Michelle Brooks-Totress, chair of the African American Advisory Committee at the Tempe History Museum. “It is important to remember what was endured by our ancestors because we are still influenced by the traumas suffered and have been affected financially as well.

“We look to the future for our part of the American Dream of ‘Justice for All’ and the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’.”

The Chandler events are presented by BASE Arizona, Chandler4Change, Chandler Men of Action, South Chandler Self Help Foundation, City of Chandler Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Chandler Chamber of Commerce Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Chandler City Councilmember OD Harris, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals, and the NAACP East Valley Branch.

Meanwhile, Tempe has added Juneteenth to its official holiday schedule.

With June 19 falling on a Sunday this year, it will be recognized on Monday, June 20.

In Downtown Tempe, the celebration will include free activities at CenterPoint Plaza, allowing people of all races and ages to come together.

Highlights of Tempe’s festivities include interactive education, live music, line dancing, food and drinks, as well as a glimpse into Black history. Featured will be a collection of local Black-owned businesses and the talent of local Black artists in a Black Art Showcase featuring original, one-of-a-kind works available for purchase.

“CenterPoint Plaza is a natural gathering place in Downtown Tempe,” said Kate Borders, executive director of the Downtown Tempe Authority. “With the Juneteenth Celebration, we’re establishing this prominent destination as a space of education, comradery and shared joy.”

The Juneteenth Celebration is a partnership between the city and the Downtown Tempe Authority.

“Commemorating Juneteenth celebrates the abolition of slavery in our country, the diversity of our city, and the steps we have taken to ensure Tempe is a welcoming, inclusive community,” Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said.

In addition, Tempe History Museum’s African American Advisory Committee presents its Juneteenth Celebration 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, the museum, 809 E. Southern Ave. The free family-friendly gathering will include music, dancing, informational tables, raffle prizes and food vendors,  including Sweet Magnolia BBQ.

More information: or 480-350-5100.



Freedom Week Kickoff Event

6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 16

Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Performing Arts Center, 2626 E. Pecos Road

Special guest speakers include Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, Chandler City Councilmember Christine Ellis and Dr. Matthew Whitaker. A reception will follow in the Student Pavilion featuring music, live entertainment and celebration activities.

Miss Juneteenth Pageant

6 p.m., Friday, June 17

Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave.

The pageant will showcase and celebrate the many academic and artistic achievements of contestants vying for the title. General admission tickets are $15 and available for purchase online at

Culture Music in the Park

7-9:30 p.m., Saturday, June 18

Dr. A.J. Chandler Park West, 3 S. Arizona Ave.

Come celebrate Chandler Freedom Week with Vaughn Willis and Ear Candy, among the most-popular soulful bands in the Valley.

Chandler Men of Action 4th Annual Mixer

2 p.m., Sunday, June 19

Founding Father’s Kitchen, 1050 W. Ray Road, Chandler

It’s the organization’s annual mixer and Father’s Day Celebration.


7-10 p.m., Sunday, June 19

CenterPoint Plaza, 660 S. Mill Ave. (northwestern corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive)

More information about Downtown Tempe’s Juneteenth Celebration, including a complete lineup of entertainment and food vendors, is available at




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