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Organizers prepare for Juneteenth Celebration, events announced Monday

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BATON ROUGE – Multiple area organizations are planning a Juneteenth Celebration starting Friday. It will be the first year the celebration will go on without civil rights activist Sadie Roberts Joseph, who was killed last July.

Joseph held multiple Juneteenth Celebrations at the museum she founded, the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum. Organizers say this year, the event is needed now more than ever.

"It's so relevant especially today when there's so much divisiveness, so much discord,” said Myra Richardson, who is helping to organize this years’ events as she did last year.

“That's how I got engaged in the work and got to know Ms. Sadie,” she said. "We stepped up to the plate and were living up to the visions that she had, and I can only see it becoming bigger, more moving each year after this."

Richardson says there will be some changes to this year’s Juneteenth Celebration including social distancing.

“Traditionally, we have four separate events that happen in this community. One by State Representative C. Denis Marcelle and Gus Young. We have one here at the museum that was for Ms. Sadie and one with CADAV. All of those organizations they have said moving forward they want to work together collectively. That's what makes this Juneteenth special is that the spirit of unity and togetherness is being highlighted, and it takes all of us to make that possible,” said Robertson.

Events will include a unity lunch downtown and activities at Millennial Park, but it will start with a gathering at the museum on Friday.

“I think this is a very beautiful moment and I think my community needs it right now. We need that uplifting moment, that point of celebration, that collective sigh to say that this is a moment for our community,” said Richardson.

Richardson says a complete list of all the events taking place will be released on Monday. Those involved include the Baton Rouge African American Museum, the Mayor’s Office, CADAV, Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, Millennial Park, the Renaissance, BR for the People and Louisiana Council of Collegiate Leadership.

Juneteenth stems back to the time of slavery in this country. On June 19th, 1865, African-American slaves in Texas finally got word of their freedom more than two years after all other slaves were declared free in the United States. Many years later, a festival was established in honor of the occasion.


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