Juneteenth 2015 kicks off with community healing service

Lee Jordan
Lee H. Jordan

A “community healing service” will help kick off this year’s Juneteenth celebration, which is set for June 20 in North Minneapolis and other Twin Cities locations.

The Juneteenth festival “observes the June 19, 1865 proclamation of the abolition of slavery in Texas,” states the Twin Cities Juneteenth planning committee’s website.

Minnesota is among several states that annually observes it, says local filmmaker Lee H. Jordan, who is making a Juneteenth documentary that he hopes to release in 2016, in a MSR interview Monday.

Juneteenth is rarely included in Civil War historical discussion, he pointed out. “To me, that’s not right. We have a history here that we really need to start taking a look at and celebrating on our own level, our own time and our own spaces. We also need to come together and air our own family history. What better time than at Juneteenth?!”

The 9:45 am “healing service” is at North Mississippi Regional Park, 5114 North Mississippi Drive in Minneapolis, and will include “a diverse [group] of religious organizations,” continued Jordan. “The important thing for the healing service is we want this to become a service that you take something with you when you leave and bring that back to the community,” he explained of the non-denominational event. [It will be] a beautiful time” for families and individual to “put more [positivity] to what’s going on right now.”

Jordan noted that it is concerning that some young people, or older folk for that matter, “don’t support our own history because they are not being taught, or there’s shame in claiming our slavery history. Some people will dismiss Juneteenth…the strength that we have come through that struggle, and how better to celebrate the sacrifices and the determination, and the almost completely positive energy when everything was coming at us at a negative level, yet we still [are] this strong, beautiful, spiritual people.”

An Underground Railroad Re-enactment will be held June 12-13. The June 20 all-day events include a continental breakfast, the healing service at Friendship Church, a march through North Minneapolis, live stage performances and other outdoor activities at North Mississippi Regional Park, 5114 North Mississippi Drive, Minneapolis at 9:45 am. For more information, call 612-238-3733 or go to www.juneteethminnesota.org.


Black people should be proud of Juneteenth “and embrace it,” concluded Jordan. “Once you do that, you have another piece of the puzzle of what makes us as a nation.”


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.


Updated 6/12/2015 11:45 pm