Nonprofit hosts Juneteenth celebration in Marquette
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Marquette had a special celebration of Juneteenth Sunday thanks to the work of one non-profit.
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 hosted by Social Justice For Us, a non-profit focused on uplifting and educating people in the U.P. on social and racial issues.
Social justice for us founder Freddy Sims says they hope the community continues to educate themselves.
“As long as people keep showing up and wanting to acknowledge that there are cultural differences that’s step one, taking that education home step 2, learning from that education step 3,” Sims said.
Carter Wilson says his keynote address brought people together.
“The message was positive, the message was one of unity, and understanding the importance of the Thirteenth Amendment,” Wilson said.
The Juneteenth celebration had free food, activities for kids and performances ranging from dance to live music.
Breakdance performer Janeil Foy says the history behind breakdancing was one built on fighting violence and spreading unity.
“It’s a pass into this other culture real 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 the U.P. can lift up marginalized communities.
“Being at events like this are definitely the things that remind me to keep pushing, keep fighting, stick to 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 greater, it’s only going to get larger.”
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