Mankato Diversity Council hosts 5th annual Juneteenth celebration
Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - A freedom march opened the Mankato Diversity Council’s 5th annual Juneteenth celebration on Sunday. Back in 2021, the United States government made Juneteenth a federal holiday.
“And I’m glad that it’s a federal holiday now. We’re hoping that it will be a state holiday as well. So we’re working on that. But it’s a historic event,” Mankato diversity council executive director Mohamed Alsadig said.
“The fight for a free, equal society where everybody is entitled. Respect and dignity was not handed. It did not fall out of the sky. It was paid for by people who gave all for it. And those of us who benefit from it now, which is all of us, should stop and should observe the tremendous sacrifice that was made,” Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison said.
Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery. On June 19, 1865- two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation- federal troops were sent down to Texas to free the last slaves of America.
“It’s part of the US history, and a lot of people need to know these things, especially as a young generation. They need to be educated about these things. So hopefully we’ve continue the education through the Diversity Council and other school districts. I think we’re going to work together on making sure, not just Juneteenth- there are a lot of historical events within the US history- that people need to know about,” Alsadig said.
The 5th annual Juneteenth celebration was about more than just the end of slavery in America- it was a look into the future for human rights, equality, and inclusion.
“Let us not allow people to separate us. While we may not agree on all things, I hope we at least agree on that. All of us are people, and we cannot let anybody say somebody is less people than us,” vice president of MNSU diversity, equity, & inclusion Henry Morris said.
Many small businesses, educators, general members, and political leaders came to celebrate and recognize the event.
“But this society is one that ended slavery on its own accord and had a civil rights movement that was resolved in favor of human equality and had a women’s rights movement which was resolved in favor of equality and now had an LGBTQ movement- which is still fighting for equality, but you can marry who you want today,” Ellison said.
About 20 vendors showed up to the event, offering free water and snacks, guidance and information, arts and home-made items, and more. For some vendors, like Ceira Stewart with Cece Couture, it was a chance to expose and take pride in running a black-owned business.
“Others who are black or just want to get their business out there, don’t stop. The sky is the limit. You can do anything you put your mind to. Yes, it’s a struggle, but it’s other people who will actually help you to get through what you need me and be your biggest supporter,” small business owner Ceira Stewart said.
Despite the heat, hundreds of Minnesotans came to celebrate Juneteenth.
“It’s just a good thing for everyone to understand where we’re coming from as a people,” Stewart said.
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