CenterState CEO: ‘Help Ignite Juneteenth in Syracuse and Celebrate Black-owned Businesses’

A new initiative launched by Syracuse Juneteenth and the City of Syracuse, with support from AT&T, will celebrate Black-owned entrepreneurs between now and Juneteenth. Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States, and each year, Syracuse hosts one of the largest Juneteenth festivals in the country. The celebration is our community’s way to acknowledge the importance of Juneteenth, and the role that we all play in creating a place for our Black neighbors that is free, equitable and full of opportunity. While this year’s annual Juneteenth Festival and parade are again canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you can still support Syracuse Juneteenth through the Syracuse Ignite Juneteenth campaign.

The eight-week campaign, which began April 23 and ends June 19, provides opportunities for the community to nominate your favorite Black-owned businesses in the food, film, and fashion and clothing industries. Additionally, weekly contests will celebrate these businesses, which were among the most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. You can also participate by:

  • Eating, shopping and doing more business with Black-owned businesses through both your personal and professional spending. Then tag those businesses on social media with #SYRIgniteJuneteenth.
  • Following the campaign and learning more about how you can support the businesses and people featured each week.
  • Helping support the return of a greater community celebration in 2022 by emailing to learn how to donate to the Syracuse Juneteenth Committee or the Syracuse Ignite Juneteenth Campaign.
  • Black entrepreneurs can contact the City of Syracuse, the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance (UMEA) or CenterState CEO to talk about how they can help you grow your business.

While we may not be able to gather for Syracuse’s Juneteenth Festival this year, I do hope you’ll consider how you can support this important campaign and help us celebrate Syracuse’s Black-owned businesses.


Robert M. Simpson
President & CEO

Campaign Schedule

May 3 through May 21 – Enter the Ignite Juneteenth Film Contest
In partnership with Syracuse Films, the Ignite Juneteenth Film Contest will feature a few favorite short films and on Juneteenth a winner will be announced.

May 24 through June 4, 2021 – Juneteenth Oratory Contest
Sankofa Health & Wellness Center and Syracuse NAACP have partnered to celebrate orators. Poets and writers, get ready, the winning orator will take the stage at the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner.

June 3 – Syracuse Community Juneteenth Calendar Release
Is your organization planning a virtual or COVID-safe Juneteenth event? Do you want to share it with the community? Submit it to the Syracuse Ignite Juneteenth ’21 calendar.

June 18 – Juneteenth Flag Raising
Juneteenth Flag raising at Syracuse City Hall.

June 19 – Closing Ceremony
Syracuse Ignite Juneteenth Closing Ceremony

To learn more about opportunities to partner or volunteer with the Syracuse Ignite Juneteenth campaign, email