On Saturday, June 18, the Twin Cities Juneteenth Incorporated will present its 30th anniversary celebration at Mississippi Regional Park.
The Juneteenth celebration, known also as Freedom Day, began in Galveston, Texas June 19, 1865 when Union troops led by General Gordon Granger arrived to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation issued three years earlier on September 22, 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln freeing southern slaves. As of 2014, 43 of 50 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday, a ceremonial holiday or a day of observance.
The Twin Cities Juneteenth program recognizes the importance of the village to cure the continued economic, social and family hardships of the African American communities around the country. The 2016 program is dedicated to promoting, preserving and recognizing the importance of the family.
The program’s success relies on volunteers and mentors. Organizers need all communities and organizations to join efforts to create a fun and safe environment by volunteering and supporting the 30th anniversary of this important cultural celebration of freedom.
Tens of thousands have attended the annual Twin Cities celebration, considered one of the largest in the country. This year’s event spans three days featuring an Underground Railroad enactment and a citywide Father’s Day collaboration with churches.
The annual Twin Cities Juneteenth parade takes place June 18 at 9 am starting at Jenny Lind Elementary school, located at 5025 Bryant Avenue North, and proceeding to the Mississippi Regional Park. Park activities feature local food, health, business and informational vendors, kid’s activities, and a live performance stage from 11 am to 6 pm.
In recognition of the untimely passing of international music artist and native son Prince, a lineup of special performers and performances honoring his legacy will be presented featuring local and national artists.
Pete Rhodes is a member of the Juneteenth planning committee and the owner of BMA Cable Network channel 937 on Comcast.