City Officials and Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity Department Host Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom & Flag Raising in Spirit Plaza


The City of Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity Department (CRIO) partnered with the City Human Resources Department and Employee Engagement team to host their Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom and Flag Raising today. Partners include the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Alkebu-Lan Village & The Detroit Opera.

The program highlighted the history of staggered liberation, ongoing civil rights efforts and an opportunity to celebrate with traditional music, dance, food and entertainment. “When we began to plan this Celebration of Freedom, I asked my team to raise the flag this year, right here in Spirit Plaza! What better place than in the heart of the City where I live, work, raise my family, shop, vote, support businesses and so much more,” said Anthony Zander, CRIO’s Director. This is the perfect place! We ARE Detroit and Detroit not only personifies freedom – but it continues to fight to uphold freedoms every day.”

Raising the Juneteenth Flag is a first for this celebration. It’s not only the national symbol for the Juneteenth holiday but represents freedom and the final end of slavery. The flag’s colors are red, white and blue intentionally to align with our own American Flag’s symbolism of freedom. The date on the flag represents the date that General Order No. 3 was issued in Galveston, Texas in 1865.

 “In Detroit, we work every day to fight for equitable access to quality healthcare and affordable housing, and to ensure our residents have the skills and knowledge to compete in today’s workforce, but there is still much work to be done,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “It’s important we pause to recognize and acknowledge Juneteenth as a city holiday as we celebrate the progress made and renew our commitment to equality.”

Council President Mary Sheffield sponsored the ordinance to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for City employees. “Establishing Juneteenth as a city holiday ensures Detroit acknowledges and honors this critical milestone of African American History, allowing all of us on our time off a moment to reflect on the past and commit to a future of equity and opportunity for all,” said Sheffield.

After the flag raising ceremony, artists, a libation bearer and the City’s own Official Historian, Jamon Jordan from the department of Arts, Culture & Entrepreneurship shared facts about Juneteenth with significant stories and that serve to educate us all.  Attendees also enjoyed a talent showcase of their peers and applauded the winners of CRIO’s Annual Juneteenth Student Poetry Contest.

The City of Detroit’s Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Program focuses on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. The purpose of this engagement is to help educate city employees and residents about the significance of the holiday, celebrate African American culture and history while fostering a more aware and inclusive workplace.  

Joining in the celebration were multiple City departments who showed up to provide giveaways, information, job opportunities and resources:

  • Detroit Water & Sewerage
  • Detroit Department of Transportation
  • Detroit at Work
  • Detroit Construction & Demolition
  • Detroit Police and Detroit Fire Departments
  • Employee Engagement
  • Detroit Municipal Credit Union and many others

The Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity Department is comprised of the following divisions: Civil Rights, Incentives Compliance, Construction Outreach, The Office of Disability Affairs, The Office of Marijuana Ventures & Entrepreneurship, Data & Policy, Detroit Business Opportunity Program, Construction Outreach and Communications & Engagement. CRIO’s purpose is to investigate alleged discrimination, secure equal protection of civil rights, promote inclusion and create opportunities and access to all citizens.

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Juneteenth Partners from City of Detroit Human Resources & Employee Engagement.


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CRIO's Juneteenth Student Poetry Contest Winners $550 in cash prizes.


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City of Detroit's Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom.