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Celebrate Juneteenth with Workouts that Give Back

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When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it freed all enslaved people living in states not under Union control. For the enslaved Black residents of Texas, freedom did not come until two years later, on June 19, 1865. The date became known as Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is often referred to as the nation’s “Second Independence Day.” And while it’s been a longstanding holiday in Black communities, it only became a national federal holiday in 2021.

Juneteeth is both a celebration and, in the aftermath of the fatal shootings of unarmed Black people like Michael Brown, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile, it also serves as a day for reflection about the continued prevalence of anti-Black racism and the struggle for racial justice. 

Marches, parades, and celebrations are planned in cities across the country, and fitness studios and community groups are doing their part to raise both awareness and funding to support Black-led and Black-focused organizations.

Join these virtual and in-person classes and fitness events to break a sweat and make a difference:

Juneteenth March 5K Run/Walk

New York, NY (+ virtual) 

Run or walk through Central Park. The starting line for the Juneteenth March 5K Run/Walk/Roll is Engineers Gate at 90th Street and 5th Avenue, and the course continues through the park to the finish line at Seneca Village, founded in 1825 by free Black Americans. 

Proceeds from the $25 entry fee will help build the Harlem Center. The community center serves more than 30 nonprofit organizations in New York that support economic inclusion, reducing recidivism, and assisting LGBTQ communities.

Not in New York? There’s a virtual race option, too. 

Juneteenth Celebration 5k

San Diego, California (+ virtual) 

Lace up your sneakers and participate in a 5k run to “celebrate a new beginning and reflect on this historic day.” The second annual event is held in person in San Diego, California, and has a virtual option. 

Fit, Black, and Educated, a nonprofit that hosts events to encourage physical fitness as well as civic engagement and education on Black history in San Diego communities, hosts the event and receives the proceeds from the $45 entry fee.

Juneteenth Annual Fitness Celebration

St Louis, MO

Sign up for a $5 core, body pump, flow, or spin class at MOVE by BJC, the fitness facility operated by BJC HealthCare. The classes, all offered as part of the Juneteenth Annual Fitness Celebration, were designed to promote strength and resilience and “celebrate the strength and resilience of our nation and its beautiful diversity while honoring the BIPOC community that makes us who we are.”

Juneteenth Commemoration Yoga and Meditation 

Richmond, VA

Yoga poses like sphinx pose, locust pose, camel pose, and cobra pose were designed to open the heart chakra. During a pay-what-you-can class held at the Lewis Gitner Botanical Garden in partnership with Project Yoga Richmond, instructors will lead a heart-centered practice designed to “acknowledge the land, honor the Ancestors, and celebrate the self-determination of Black people [and] transform historical harms.” 

The class is open to those with all experience levels and from all racial backgrounds who want a safe space and place for healing and an opportunity to contemplate how they show up in the community.

Utah State University Juneteenth 5K Fun Run

Logan, UT

The theme for the 2022 Juneteenth celebration at Utah State University is Educate, Celebrate, Activate. In addition to panels and presentations that focus on the importance of activism, USU Athletics and the USU track and cross-country team are co-hosting a Juneteenth 5K fun run on the campus cross country course on June 18. Proceeds from the $15 entry fee support programming at the USU Black Student Union.

Wellness as a Form of Resistance: Yoga for All

Boston, MA

On June 18, yoga instructor Brittney Sampson leads a class at the Francis D. Martini Memorial Shell Park and Moynihan Recreation Area before the Juneteenth Joy celebration kicks off in the park. The free practice promotes self-healing, relaxation, and restoration from the work of racial equity and social justice.

Roc Juneteenth 2022 5K Run/Walk

Rochester, NY (+ virtual)

The Roc Juneteenth 2022 5k Run/Walk through Genesee Valley Park is dedicated to Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot while running through his Glynn County, Georgia, neighborhood. Funds from race registration fees (which range from $10 to $30) will go toward constructingHeritage Park, an outdoor Civil Rights classroom. Organizers hope to raise $50,000 during the Juneteenth race.

Gammon House 5K Run/Walk for Freedom 

Springfield, Ohio

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed just as George and Sarah Gammon, free persons of color living in Springfield, Ohio, finished the construction of their home. The legislation imposed penalties of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine on anyone assisting runaway enslaved persons. The Gammons risked it all to help, and their home is one of just three remaining sites on the Underground Railroad in Ohio.
The Gammon House 5K Run/Walk for Freedom starts at the historic house and kicks off a week of Juneteenth celebrations. The $18 entrance fee benefits the nonprofit National Historic Underground Railroad Site.

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