Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.


Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect Jan. 1, 1863, Juneteenth recognizes the day in 1865 when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger brought federal troops to Galveston and announced the Civil War was over and enslaved Black people were free.


In 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. In 2020, all but four states observe it as a state holiday.


For many years, communities across the nation have celebrated the day with food, music and displays of unity. This year, the coronavirus pandemic has halted most normal gatherings and celebrations.


Although this year's holiday will look different, you can still recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black people and Black culture to our country. Here are five ways to observe and learn about Juneteenth while staying safe in Austin.


Stay Black and Live


This livestream — organized by the George Washington Carver Museum, in collaboration with Six Square, Greater East Austin Youth Association, Jump On It and District 1 City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison — is set for June 19.


The stream will be hosted across multiple platforms (with support from the Vortex theater) and will include music, speeches and a raffle. Before the stream, barbecue plates will be distributed by the 10,000 Fearless First Responders organization to local community members most impacted by COVID-19. Food distribution will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Carver Museum.


This virtual celebration will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information at juneteenthatx.com.


Dialogue for Peace and Progress Summit


The city of Kyle is hosting its inaugural Dialogue for Peace & Progress Summit on June 19. Community leaders hope to raise awareness and start conversations between law enforcement and the community.


The event will be held in person at 7 p.m. at Kyle City Hall. It also will be streamed on youtube.com/cityofkyletxyle and the facebook.com/cityofkyletx/live.


Juneteenth Weekend Driving Tour


The Neill-Cochran House Museum is offering self-guided tours of historic of Wheatville and Clarksville from June 19-21. The tours take visitors through Austin to see the communities that freedmen established after the Civil War.


"This is a really good moment, to gain a better understanding about the way Austin developed and how that connects to race. The east side of Austin has a rich African-American history. It's really valuable to understand how the city began and the way in which our part of town looked completely different .. during the Civil War era," said Rowena Houghton Dasch, executive director of the museum.


The tour includes videos for each stop, as well as the option to purchase a shoebox lunch from Hoover’s Cooking.


Find more information and register at nchmuseum.org/nchm-events/juneteenth.


Growing Your Roots


Downs-Jones Library at Huston-Tillotson University will host a virtual Juneteenth event on June 19. Library director Danielle McGhee will discuss how to use genealogy as a "progressive tool during a global pandemic."


Register and find more information at linktr.ee/ht_downsjoneslibrary.


Support a Black business


Many businesses have found themselves struggling as a result of pandemic safety restrictions and social distancing measures. According to CBS News, more than 41% of Black business owners in the U.S. shuttered their companies for good between February and mid-April.


As support for the Black Lives Matter movement grows, many people are finding ways to show solidarity by making an effort to support local Black businesses. You can find a list of some Black-owned food businesses at austin360.com. Check out the Greater Austin Black Chamber website (austinbcc.org) for more.


Cynthia Daniels, a Memphis event planner, is turning her website into a virtual Black business marketplace for the Juneteenth holiday. From noon to 8 p.m. on June 19, Juneteenth Shop Black (cdcoshops.com) will feature 100 businesses, 50 from Memphis and 50 from across the country.


Donate or sign a petition


Organizations such as the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (nationaljuneteenth.com) in Mississippi are still seeking a congressional declaration to make Juneteenth a national holiday. You can sign their petition at change.org.


You can also make a donation to a civil rights organization. The Austin branch of the NAACP (naacpaustin.com) addresses civil rights issues in Austin and throughout Texas. Some of the issues the organization focuses on include voting, education and economic equality. The ACLU of Texas (aclutx.org) regards itself as the "leading civil rights organization in the Lone Star State," working to protect individual rights and civil liberties.