Three of the Juneteenth planning committee members
Committee members (from left) Stacey Johnson, Richard Johnson, and Carmen Lewis

Residents lead Juneteenth planning, with City support

Juneteenth — the holiday commemorating an effective end of slavery in the United States — was first celebrated in Texas in 1866.

It took until 1979 for Juneteenth to become an official holiday in Texas, and it wasn’t until 2021 that the federal government established it as a federal holiday.

Minnesota adopted the holiday in 2023, and the City of Eagan followed suit — we’re celebrating every year, from here on out.

Last summer Eagan residents Richard and Stacey Johnson plus Carmen and Manu Lewis reached out to ask how the City planned to celebrate the newly official holiday. In conversation with staff members, the group concluded that because Juneteenth is so deeply rooted in Black history and identity, the City should support, rather than lead such a celebration.

Over the past year, these residents have worked hard to plan for a vibrant event with music, food trucks, activities, and an educational history walk. The event will take place at Viking Lakes from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.

“We live here, and part of us living here is being able to lift up what we’re celebrating as a diverse community,” Carmen Lewis says.

Richard Johnson expressed enthusiasm for working alongside the City in the planning process. “We should learn together,” he says, “so we can live, work, and play together.”

“Eagan’s vision is to be an inclusive and equitable city that serves our racially diverse community so everyone can thrive,” Mayor Mike Maguire says. Listening, supporting, and partnering on events like this with community members can help us achieve that vision.

The City will formally recognize Juneteenth at Eagan Market Fest on Wednesday, June 19, and introduce the planning committee, who will then invite the community to the June 23 event.