SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio African-American Community Archive and Museum, also known aS SAAACAM, has partnered with IKEA for a new mural-style exhibit celebrating Juneteenth that is displayed inside the IKEA Live Oak location.
Deborah Omowale Jarmon, SAACAM CEO and director, said the organization partnered with IKEA Live Oak to create the mural telling their ancestors’ stories and showcasing the importance of Juneteenth.
“Juneteenth is a part of not just Black history but San Antonio’s history, Texas history, the nation’s history,” said Jarmon. “We don’t feel you have to necessarily come into a traditional museum to get those stories. So we go out and collect the stories and then share them.”
Juneteenth is now a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. It originated in Texas and has been celebrated in parts of the United States since 1865.
“The thought of being able to celebrate the true emancipation of African descendants here is spectacular,” said Jarmon. “I’m old enough to remember not being able to drink out of a refrigerated water fountain, so to come this far in such a short time is a reason to celebrate.”
Stories like Jarmon’s and those of her ancestors fighting for freedom are what SAAACAM and IKEA organizers hope can be told in part with this mural.
“It’s about bringing in the community into the store and a way customers can feel themselves represented here within the store, said Janeli Saucedo-Castrejana, loyalty manager of IKEA-Live Oak. “Culture, memories, traditions, all those things are shared within the home.”
SAACAM also hopes the exhibit helps instill pride in the community and foster conversations about Juneteenth between friends and family.
“It is my hope that, as a holiday, we can really reflect on what freedom means across the board, not just to Americans, but really what freedom means to everyone and how we can flourish in a free society,” said Jarmon.
The exhibit will be open to the public throughout June. Storytelling sessions and children’s activities will be held at the exhibit every weekend throughout the month, beginning Saturday.
“We talk about culture -- celebrations and culture really do live within the home,” said Saucedo-Castrejana. “We wanted to make sure folks had a space to celebrate.”
Click here for more information on the exhibit at IKEA and SAAACAM.