Mayor Fischer signs executive order to form 15-member Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission

February 01, 2021

Furthering his commitment to honoring Juneteenth, Mayor Greg Fischer signed an executive order this morning to form a 15-member Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission, which will help organize events celebrating its historical significance in Louisville.

Held on June 19, Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday commemorating the final communication of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Last June, the Mayor signed an executive order recognizing the day as an official holiday for Louisville Metro Government (LMG) workers, effective this year.

“Juneteenth has a long history as a day of celebration in the Black community. I believe it’s past time that our entire city honors the victory for freedom that Juneteenth represents with the celebration it deserves,” the Mayor said.

The new 15-member commission will include representatives from the Metro Council, the business community, arts, educational and faith institutions, and others. They will be charged with reviewing opportunities for expanding access to educational programming already developed by Waterfront Park and developing virtual events for Juneteenth 2021 – to raise community awareness of Juneteenth’s significance.

The commission also will advise on ways to create a series of educational and cultural events and community-wide celebrations for Juneteenth 2022 and beyond, public health conditions allowing.

 In addition, the commission will help develop a budget and secure sponsorships and other funding needed to produce the celebration, in coordination with Waterfront Park, Metro Council and Louisville Metro Government.  The commission will work to present events that will highlight Black-owned businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and wealth building, and showcase historically black colleges and universities.

The Mayor was joined today by Ashley Smith of Waterfront Park, as well as Metro Council President David James, Councilwoman Paula McCraney, D-7, and Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Executive Director Aukram Burton, who outlined the history of Juneteenth.


Smith said Waterfront Park is excited to be involved in spreading the word about Juneteenth events, as well as discussions on race, discrimination and unity.


“We look forward to collaborating with the Juneteenth commission to propel the work we have started over the past two years to honor the history and significance of the Juneteenth holiday,” she said.  “Waterfront Park has a proud tradition of bringing people together and we are honored to partner in this meaningful community-wide celebration.”  

Councilwoman McCraney said the Juneteenth events will build upon the spontaneous celebrations that erupted throughout the country when slaves learned of their freedom.

“Codifying the historic significance of the Emancipation Proclamation acknowledges that, although justice (freedom) was delayed, justice was not denied,” she said.  “Freedom is the right to act, speak and think without hindrance or restraint, so I look forward to experiencing the public celebratory events that will be produced by the commission for Louisville's Juneteenth.”

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