As Juneteenth approaches, Boston is set to host the third annual Embrace Ideas Festival, a multiday celebration of Black art, culture, joy and excellence.

Imari Paris Jeffries, president and CEO of Embrace Boston, alongside author and historian Ibram X. Kendi, will spearhead this year’s festivities. The celebration begins with the Embrace Honors Awards, recognizing the efforts of individuals dedicated to creating a more equitable Boston.

“It is a national tradition of ours to celebrate leaders who’ve done the work,” said Jeffries on Boston Public Radio on Wednesday.

The awards are followed by the three-day Embrace Ideas Festival where there are keynote lectures, panel discussions and live performances. 

“We’re going to be talking about racism and, unfortunately, the ways in which it’s transformed itself in this moment,” Kendi said. “That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited to be a part of this incredible ideas festival — indeed, a new Boston tradition.”

Jeffries pointed out that Juneteenth is the newest federal holiday in the country, first recognized in 2021. “Americans don’t know how to celebrate Juneteenth. It hasn’t been socialized into their everyday existence.”

He added, “We’re positing that Juneteenth, at least in Boston, can be celebrated with Black ideas, Black joy, Black thought, and Black togetherness. Everyone can be involved.”

The festival will culminate in a free block party open to the public on June 21.

“If you like to dance and you wear good sneakers, you show up,” Jeffries said. “I think this is a way that all of us can celebrate America’s first Independence Day, that all of us have truly been free together as a country.”