Communities across the Twin Cities honor Juneteenth, reflect on holiday’s history

People of all ages and walks of life came to Bethune Park in Minneapolis to celebrate Juneteenth and the history behind the federal holiday.

“We’re all equal and we all matter. We all have history and I feel like our history is pushed to the side and it shouldn’t be,” Jai’liece Fort, Juneteenth event attendee, said.

Fort, 14-years-old, said learning Black history in the classroom was rare. She’s hoping when she heads to high school the curriculum is different.

“Makes me feel like people really don’t care about us. Makes it seem like it’s [the history] not really nothing special, but it really is,” Fort said.

On Saturday, the spotlight was on Juneteenth and its history.

“Those stories were hidden for so long and now they’re coming forward and they add so much richness to our history and it’s something we all need to know about,” Ed Ehlinger, Juneteenth event attendee, said.

Minneapolis city leaders kicked off the annual event with food trucks, entertainment and vendors.

“It’s a great cause for celebration for all of us, regardless of our backgrounds. It’s a good national holiday and I’m so pleased,” Ehlinger said.’

P.J. Hill is the vice president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP. He said Juneteenth reminds the black community of the ongoing fight for equality.

“We’re recognizing the struggle, paying homage to all of our ancestors who went through so much to get us where we are today,” Hill said. “When will we truly be free because there’s so many systematic racism still in place. Will it take 20, 30 more years for us to really be truly liberated?”

He explained the fight for freedom is far from over.

“I think it’s been a racial reckoning and people are really starting to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Hill said.