Juneteenth celebrations continue all across Utah

Jun 18, 2023, 10:24 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm

OGDEN, Utah — Juneteenth celebrations feature black-owned businesses, food trucks, music, and art exhibits, but there’s a deeper meaning.

“It’s an opportunity to share with others and help build community,” expressed  Betty Sawyer, Executive Director of Project Success Coalition. “We know the stories of our past, and to be able to honor that and at the same time use this as a springboard to do what we do every day and do it with excellence and do it with intention.”

Project Success Coalition is the group behind this weekend’s Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival in Ogden, the largest celebration in the state. This is the second year Juneteenth has been recognized as a state holiday.

Sawyer said recognizing the day is an important step, but there’s more work to do.

Here’s where to celebrate Juneteenth in Utah

“We shouldn’t have the level of poverty in Utah that we do,” she said. “We shouldn’t have kids still complaining, we shouldn’t have kids complaining about discrimination in schools, but that’s happening still. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go in Utah.”

While recognition of the important day is a step in the right direction, Sawyer said more work is being done to address issues with housing, employment, mental health, and economic development within the black community.

But she hopes the celebrations will positively impact everyone who participates.

“We are intentional about working every day to make life better for everybody, not just a few, everybody.”

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Juneteenth celebrations continue all across Utah