Written by
Gwen McNamara, Communications Specialist
June 16, 2021

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that enslaved Black people in Texas learned that they were free. As Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber notes in his most recent blog: "It is an occasion to celebrate the end of slavery and to renew our commitment to America’s ongoing quest for a genuinely equal and inclusive society."

Service and civic engagement offer vital avenues to acquire a deeper understanding of societal issues and an appreciation for the complex factors that drive these issues. At the Pace Center, we recognize we must explore and grapple with the historical and contemporary structures and norms that lie at the root of societal problems and we emphasize the importance of careful preparation and reflection as a means to do so. 

As Princeton University recognizes June 19 as a University holiday, we've curated a few resources to help everyone in the Princeton University community reflect on Juneteenth.

Listen to Learn

In service and civic engagement, assessing your own understanding of the topic or issue at hand is a critical starting point. As you seek to learn more about Juneteenth, remember that our Black/African American students, partners, staff, and faculty should not be asked to hold the history and explain Juneteenth. All should be given the space to reflect and celebrate however they can. 

Princeton RISE Resource Guide

Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and police violence have placed a spotlight on the ever-present racial inequities in our communities and world. As we work to combat persistent acts of systemic racism, we have to first learn about these systems - where they come from and how they currently manifest. The Princeton RISE Resource Guide provides an accessible framework for learning about systemic racism and reflecting on actions we can take as individuals to build an equitable and just world. Each module contains foundational information, links to a variety of resources, and a set of reflection questions which can be completed individually or in small groups.


Podcast episodes: 

Podcasts series: 


In service and civic engagement, reflection allows us to evaluate our experiences, acknowledge our thoughts and feelings, recognize learnings, and embrace areas for growth. The Field Guide to Service's Purposeful Processing activity offers a four-part approach to reflect:


  • When will I set aside time for reflection?
  • What type of environment do I need to be able to reflect?


  • What does Juneteenth mean to me?
  • How did I feel before Juneteenth? How do I feel now?


  • How does Juneteenth align with my values?
  • What can I do moving forward?


  • Who can I connect with about my experience?
  • How will I share with others?

Community Events

Princeton Juneteenth Block Party

Saturday, June 19, 4-7 PM (EDT), YMCA Princeton Family Field, Princeton NJ

A day of celebration, remembrance, and activism sponsored by the Princeton Family YMCA, Arts Council of Princeton, Carl A. Fields Center, Code Equal, Pace Center for Civic Engagement, Princeton Lewis Center for the Arts, and Princeton University Art Museum. 

Juneteenth Weekend Celebration

Friday, June 18-Sunday, June 20, Downtown Trenton, Mill Hill Park

The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County, in partnership with NJ Legislative District 15 and Outdoor Equity Alliance, are planning a three-day, city-wide Juneteenth celebration to highlight poignant and current issues through displays of culture, collaboration, commerce, unity, and education. 

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

In our 20th year as the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, it is imperative that we acknowledge the harm that can be done through service. Unprepared students can be more of a hindrance than a help to communities. Sporadic meetings do not support relationship-building with youth, and existing structures do not create enough opportunities for communities to move forward with their own solutions.

We recognize anti-racism as actively working against the structures and processes that disadvantage Black and Indigenous people, as well as Latinx and Asian-Americans. The Pace Center can combat systemic racism by recognizing the harm that can be done in the name of service, and by emphasizing service that not only repairs damage to communities, but also builds upon community assets. Our relational approach to service is based on our belief in equality and human dignity. Learn more about our commitment to anti-racism.