MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Marquette celebrated Sunday, June 16 through the work of a nonprofit organization.
Juneteenth or Freedom Day celebrates the emancipation of African Americans from slavery during the Civil War.
The holiday was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 under President Joe Biden.
The celebration at Lakeview Arena in Marquette was organized by Social Justice For Us, a nonprofit focused on educating and educating people in UP about social and racial issues.
Social Justice for Us founder Freddy Sims says they hope the community continues to educate themselves.
“As long as people continue to show up and want to acknowledge that there are cultural differences, that’s step one, take that education home, step 2, learn from that education, step 3,” Sims said. .
Carter Wilson says his opening speech brought people together.
“The message was positive, the message was one of unity and understanding the importance of the Thirteenth Amendment,” Wilson said.
The June 19 celebration offered free food, activities for children and entertainment ranging from dancing to live music.
Breakdancing performer Janeil Foy says the history behind breakdancing was built on fighting violence and spreading unity.
“It’s a step into this other real culture to express yourself and be welcome, and that’s what I think Juneteenth is, a place that welcomes you,” Foy said.
Artist Opal Jenkins says the event serves as a reminder of how UP can uplift marginalized communities.
“Being at events like this are definitely the things that remind me to keep pushing, to keep fighting, to stay on the path,” Jenkins said. “Every day there are new events like this. For me it’s like why go anywhere else when I know I’ve been here, I’ve been in the community to build to help and it’s only going to get bigger, it’s only going to get bigger.
To follow Social Justice for Us, you can visit their website or like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram for volunteer opportunities and upcoming events.
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