Montclair Brewery plans several events to commemorate Juneteenth
President Joe Biden signed legislation on Thursday to officially make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Some local New Jersey businesses will be celebrating the day and using this moment in history as a teachable one.
Denise Ford Sawadogo co-owns the Montclair Brewery in Montclair with her husband. And while one may not equate beer with learning about history or the strife of disenfranchised groups, the brewery finds ways to incorporate African American experiences within its walls.
“A lot of these issues are coming to light, and we knew that this was the time to promote that further,” Ford Sawadogo says.
Like they do for Black History Month, Montclair Brewery will be highlighting and celebrating Juneteenth with a curated day of events and a special beer.
“We have our special beer called the Jubilee, which is a red wheat ale that we brewed specifically on behalf of this joyous holiday,” Ford Sawadogo says.
Juneteenth is June 19, and it commemorates the day that 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas got word that they were free and had been free since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed over two years earlier.
Other Black-owned businesses in New Jersey are also looking forward to the recognition that the holiday is getting, calling it long overdue.
“I’m happy that we’re being represented, and it’s being acknowledged nationally,” says Lucienne Coppedge, owner of Lulu's Artisanal Café, also in Montclair.
Ford Sawadogo says that she hopes that all Americans recognize the importance of Juneteenth for all people.
“There's a very famous saying that no one is free until we're all free. So this is just as big, if not bigger, than Independence Day,” she says.
Juneteenth is now the 12th federal holiday and the first federal holiday to be added to the calendar since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.