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Community group organizes Juneteenth celebration in St. Joseph

A peace walk is scheduled for this Friday, June 19, at 6:10pm starting on the Northeast corner of US 150 and Main Street in St. Joseph to celebrate Juneteenth. Participants should arrive at 6pm or earlier prior to the start of the march.

Members of SJOnward, a local community group promoting diversity, inclusion, and racial equality in St. Joseph-Ogden and surrounding towns, will lead a procession through town stopping at least once for eight minutes and 46 seconds to pay homage to George Floyd, and African-American man in Minneapolis who was allegedly killed by an on-duty police officer in a video captured by a 17-year-old onlooker.

Juneteenth commemorates the day when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston on June 19, 1865, that anyone held in bondage in the state of Texas were free. The day is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day or Cel-Liberation Day. Despite that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed nearly two years and six months earlier, a large number of Americans, especially in remote areas of the country, continued to endure slavery due to the lack of availability of Union trips to enforce the Abraham Lincoln's executive order.

After walkers arrive at Kolb Park, there will be a speaker talking about the cultural and historical significance of Juneteenth, information about the history of sundown towns and how this has shaped perspectives of our community. Other speakers will be on hand to discuss their personal experiences with racism in St. Joseph and beyond.

Organizers ask that participants observe social distancing precautions by wearing a mask and keep a six foot distance from others as much as possible.

For more information visit the event page on Facebook here.


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