LOGAN, Utah – Utah State Athletics will be hosting the Juneteenth 5K Fun Run on Saturday, June 18, as part of the university’s three days of events in observance of the end of slavery.
Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.
The troops’ arrival came two-and-a-half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Celebrations broke out among the 250,000 newly freed black people in Texas, and Juneteenth was born. That December, slavery in America was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment.
Saturday’s 5K Fun Run, which is open to people of all ages, will take place on the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course and begin at 8:30 a.m. Manny Martins, who is entering his second year at the helm of Utah State’s soccer program, will be the guest starter. Student-athletes from the football, soccer and men’s and women’s cross country programs will be among the many volunteers on hand for the event.
Preregistration for the fun run is encouraged, but you can also register at the event. However, no cash will be accepted as payment. Cost is as follows:
- $15 for individual ages 18+
- $10 for individual ages 8-17
- $50 for families (between 4-6 members)
- Free for ages 7-and-under
Proceeds from the 5K go to the USU Black Student Union to help fund programming, including Juneteenth Events.
Utah State’s goal with the three days of events this weekend is to “educate, celebrate and activate” the newly recognized Juneteenth holiday. On Thursday, March 24, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a law to make Juneteenth National Freedom Day a state holiday. The holiday has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late-19th century.
While celebrated on June 19, under the law, if the holiday falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday it will be observed on the preceding Monday. If the holiday falls on a weekend, it will be observed the following Monday, giving people a three-day weekend.
On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a U.S. federal holiday, making it the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
Utah State’s activities surrounding Juneteenth are set to take place Friday through Sunday.
Friday’s theme will be “educate,” and will feature a black history art exhibit and museum bus that will be parked outside of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. A silent auction, panel series and alumni mixer will also be held.
Saturday’s events will follow the theme “celebrate.” Following the fun run, a family-friendly bar-b-q, catered by 5 Star BBQ, will be held at Bridger Park. Big Blue will be on hand for the event, and there will be a photo booth, ice cream, face painting, a DJ, crafts, balloon animals and yard games.
In the evening on Saturday, there will be a movie screening of “His Name is Green Flake,” a film that talks about the first black pioneers to come to Utah. The producer and director, Mauli Junior Bonner, and his brother playing the lead, Yohosh Bonner, will be on hand.
On Sunday, the day of Juneteenth, an interfaith devotional will be held to honor the theme “activate.” There will be a series of speakers from different religions, as well as singers.
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