Communities celebrate as Minnesota recognizes Juneteenth as state holiday for first time
Minnesota is recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday for the first time as celebrations are underway across the metro.
A block party in St. Paul kicked off Sunday afternoon in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.
With the shake of a can and a splash of paint, kids in St. Paul are brightening up the neighborhood to celebrate Juneteenth.
“I’m just really grateful when events like this happen that bring us together as communities,” said Jyssica Williams, who was in attendance at the Juneteenth celebration.
Williams’ kids filled in each letter on a mural spelling out “Juneteenth,” commemorating the historic date June 19, 1865. It marks the day the last enslaved people in Texas found out they were free.
“Just because we were brought here and had to go through things, that doesn’t define us,” Williams said. “We are strong people.”
Nonprofit organization 30,000 Feet brought the Juneteenth Block Party to life. People of all ages enjoyed live music, food trucks and a trip back in time to celebrate history.
“It’s a day for honoring and recognizing, but it’s a starting point for us to continue to figure out how we get our sense of freedom and generational wealth,” 30,000 Feet co-founder Vanessa Young said.
Young made sure community resources were on tap at the event to connect people with information about jobs, insurance and housing to build a better life.
She explained the Black community is still fighting for freedom.
“It’s very important to recognize that we’re still not free,” Young said. “There’s still a prison pipeline complex that we’re still trying to deal with and overcome.”
She explained the Black community is finding ways to move closer toward freedom without forgetting how it all started.
On Monday, the celebrations continue. There are a handful of Juneteenth events across the metro ranging from parades to cookouts that people can choose from.