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Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom

By: Raven Madison, Reporter

Urban Impact in Birmingham is teaming up with local community members to sponsor a “Juneteenth Pop Up” celebration event Friday, June 19.

“We just wanted to be able to create an event during the midst of all this where we can celebrate being black,” said Amyna Price, the host of the event.

Juneteenth was first named an official holiday in Texas in 1980. Its purpose is to commemorate the thousands of slaves in Galveston who were told in 1963 that they were no longer enslaved.

The event will take place on 4th Ave South, one of the only designated Black Business Districts in America. Urban Impact strives to grow traditionally underserved and historic African American commercial districts, such as the 4th Avenue Historic District funding this event, is an extension of that goal.

There will be a voter registration table for attendees to register or update their voter information for the upcoming presidential election. There will be black vendors and food trucks present at the event including: Fanicy Hunter with Emotion Therapy, Taylor Collier of Tayelectronica Designs, Diva Reese with Encore the Dessert Bar, Candace Green with Danielle’s Kitchen, and SeaZon food truck.

Attendees will also enjoy entertainment with live music provided by The KickBack Hip-Hop Podcast, performances by rapper Brint Story and singer Halo Wheeler, and the spoken word performed by Dikerius Blevins.

At a time where national outrage from police brutality and systematic racism is extremely high, it has driven many black people to be more aware of what Juneteenth is and for some to celebrate it for the first time.

Wheeler said as an artist, she stands on the front lines for change and that she would never want to pass up her place in this movement by using her gift as a source of healing.

“We deserve this moment of celebration and release, because every day we have to hold ourselves together despite the tragedies we are facing,” Wheeler said. “I imagine necessary release, conversation, and education will come of this. I believe we will be making our ancestors smile.”

Birmingham resident, Demetri Bailey, said he is looking forward to the event, reconnecting with other black people outside of the protests and being able to give back to black businesses.

“This will be a chance for black people to come together outside of the protesting,” Bailey said. “Protesting and raising awareness is very important but I feel that unity with good music and good people are also needed.”

Price said because the even is expected to host a large group, social distancing measures will still be practiced and attendees are encouraged to wear masks and carry hand sanitizer to stay protected.

“Juneteenth is an important holiday because it marks when all Black Americans gained independence though we still have a way to go before being truly free in this country,” Price said.

The pop-up celebration begins at 4 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. at 1700 4th Ave. North in Birmingham.

More information on the Juneteenth Pop Up can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/events/291355081991753

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham