Today is Juneteenth, which is a federal, Missouri, county and city holiday. It marks the effective end to slavery in the United States, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the U-S.
Most federal, Missouri, county and city offices are closed today, with the exception of emergency services like the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Departments and prisons. Most of Jefferson City’s 14,000 state employees have the day off. Banks and financial institutions are closed, and there will be no regular mail delivery today. County courthouses are closed, and the Columbia and Jefferson City council meetings have been moved to Tuesday evening.
President Joe Biden signed legislation into law in 2021, making it a federal holiday. Missouri Governor Mike Parson followed-up that week with an executive order, making Juneteenth one of Missouri’s 13 official state holidays.
A community fun and fellowship Juneteenth event will take place from 11 to 4:30 today at Columbia’s Douglass park on North Providence, and the Village of Columbia Juneteenth celebration will take place from noon to 6 today at Cosmo park, just north of I-70.
There was a good turnout at Saturday morning’s Juneteenth parade in Columbia. Former mayoral candidate Tanya Heath notes the parade had a lot of entries and that children handed out candy. The parade began in downtown Columbia and ended at Douglass park on Providence, where about 200 people attended the Juneteenth celebration. Heath notes the Rev. James Gray encouraged everyone to enjoy free food, visit a booth and to meet a neighbor in fellowship. Boone Hospital and Columbia Parks and Recreation were just some of the booths at the celebration.
Ms. Heath says about 175 people attended Saturday evening’s Juneteenth event at Shelter Garden, sitting in lawn chairs listening to live music, while children danced and had their faces painted. Tanya notes food trucks and booths were also at the celebration, serving up Big Daddy’s BBQ and other treats.