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Army veteran shares why Juneteenth matters

3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago Wednesday, June 19 2024 Jun 19, 2024 June 19, 2024 10:24 PM June 19, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge residents celebrated Juneteenth at the Unity Festival on Wednesday, commemorating the freedom of African-Americans slaves in the U.S..

Veteran Connie Commenia-Freeman says that educating the youth about this holiday is extremely important. 

"It gave our people their freedom. I had the freedom to join the military and I'm a product of a plantation, so it's special to me knowing that we are free," she says. 

Freeman grew up in poverty with ten other siblings. Because her family could not afford to pay for her college, she joined the Army. During her service, she encountered a lot of prejudice. She says that her faith helped her overcome that during her 39-year service.

"My focus was to be the best that I could be and to go as high as I could," she says.

Retiring as a command sergeant major, her next mission is to educate her kids and grandkids about their history including the importance of Juneteenth. She does this by taking them to museums, showing the importance of open communication and traveling as a family.

Freeman says that education is key. She encourages the youth to learn about their ancestry, read about the people and events that brought the country to Juneteeth and attend events that keep the history going. 

"Freedom, it came at a cost. They need to know that so that we can progress and not digress."

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