Equity is at the center of an event this evening celebrating the more than 150 years since slavery ended.
Juneteenth is the annual holiday commemorating the emancipation of slaves throughout the former Confederate states.
The organization Equity Over Everything, the MLK Association of Asheville and Lenoir Rhyne University are hosting a Juneteenth presentation that involves both celebrating African-American achievements, as well as reflecting on a more equitable future.
Aisha Adams, founder of Equity Overy Everything, says the goal is to encourage more open conversations about racial equity in Asheville.
“I just hope people have a good time and they just start conversations. You don’t plant a seed and then hope that you get the fruit the next day,” Adams said.
Adams says speakers will highlight opportunities for improving racial equity in education, housing and business.
Michael Dempsey, Lenoire Rhyne's Dean of the Center for Graduate Studies, says the event is the first of its kind at the university. Dempsey says the conversation about racial equity is consistent with the school's values.
"As we stand today, not every American is on equal footing to pursue the American Dream," Dempsey said. "We are aligned with Dr. King's vision, of what will it take, what kind of dialogue will it take and what kind of changes in society will it take for all people to be treated equitably."
The Juneteenth presentation and celebration is Wed. June 19, at 6 pm at Lenoire Rhyne. The event is free, but online registration is recommended. More information can be found here.