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Hundreds come collectively in Aurora to have a good time Juneteenth

There was a party going on Saturday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Aurora, as thousands came together to celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth – officially celebrated on June 19 – commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, it wasn’t until June 19

Hundreds come collectively in Aurora to have a good time Juneteenth

There was a celebration occurring Saturday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Aurora, as 1000’s got here collectively to have a good time Juneteenth.

Juneteenth – formally celebrated on June 19 – commemorates the top of slavery within the U.S. Whereas President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, it wasn’t till June 19, 1865, that the final enslaved African People had been freed in Texas after the top of the Civil Battle.

Starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the four-hour Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Celebration in Aurora featured quite a lot of actions together with a dance contest, storytelling, meals and craft distributors, a three-on-three basketball match, dwell leisure and extra.

Metropolis officers stated that through the years, the occasion has drawn upwards of 6,000 individuals.

“Aurora co-sponsors this together with the African American Males of Unity and it is a fantastic time,” stated Clayton Muhammad, the town’s chief communications and fairness officer.

He famous the competition celebrating Juneteenth in Aurora has been held for 23 years, “lengthy earlier than this turned a federal vacation.”

“The dedication has been there from organizer Rick Rodgers, the president of the African American Males of Unity, and his group to actually put this in an historic context,” he stated. “It’s a chance for the Black neighborhood, specifically, to have a good time our legit independence from slavery.”

Muhammad known as the occasion “an annual reminder of the place we got here from and the way far we’ve come and nonetheless have to go.”

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“It’s additionally a summertime kick-off, if you’ll, and a household reunion to see individuals you haven’t seen in the course of the yr and a beautiful event to honor the Black wrestle and journey in America,” he stated.

Muhammad stated the competition is a particular one within the metropolis.

“Whereas there will likely be predominantly Blacks on the occasion identical to different occasions right here in Aurora is perhaps predominantly Mexican or Indian we’ve these from different communities come out and that displays our message of our ‘One Aurora’ focus and that all of us have a seat on the desk,” he stated. “Juneteenth often is the Black voice, however that’s the great thing about Aurora that we settle for and acknowledge everybody.

“We’re not attempting to be a melting pot as a result of we’ve our particular person teams and traits,” he stated. “We’re a gumbo – every little thing nonetheless has its personal style and taste and all our cultural flavors.”

A whole lot packed the car parking zone and had been strolling among the many varied cubicles and meals distributors effectively earlier than the three:30 p.m. official begin of the fest.

Rodgers stated that final yr, the competition attracted “about 6,000 individuals and we’re hoping to do this or higher this yr.”

Rick Rodgers, president of the African American Men of Unity group, again organized the annual Juneteenth celebration that was held Saturday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Aurora. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)
Rick Rodgers, president of the African American Males of Unity group, once more organized the annual Juneteenth celebration that was held Saturday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Aurora. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-Information)

“Over time much more individuals have change into engaged since they perceive what Juneteenth is and as soon as it turned a nationwide vacation, individuals began getting on board,” he stated. “In the event that they weren’t on board prior to now it’s resonating with them and it’s change into a really various celebration. It’s not only a celebration of African-American independence however it’s a celebration for all People.”

Georgia Pryor, who stated she has lived in Aurora for over 50 years, stated she needed to come back to the occasion “as a result of loads of my former college students is perhaps right here,” noting that she labored as a dean at East Aurora Excessive College.

“This is a vital day as we have to get the younger individuals concerned any approach we will,” she stated of Juneteenth. “It’s necessary that that is now a nationwide vacation.”

Georgia Pryor, a former dean at East Aurora High School, came to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Aurora Saturday for the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Celebration. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)
Georgia Pryor, a former dean at East Aurora Excessive College, got here to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Aurora Saturday for the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Celebration. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-Information)

Steve Stefani of Chicago was representing a bunch on the occasion that gives “hurt discount” providers specializing in drug abuse and stated Saturday’s celebration “was necessary to acknowledge and that it’s (Juneteenth) one thing that’s getting extra consideration.”

“When it comes to nationwide advertising and marketing I get loads of emails about it (Juneteenth) now. I’m in grad faculty and all of us take time to be intentional and mirror on these kinds of issues,” Stefani stated. “I didn’t see that after I was rising up.”

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Del Estrada of Winfield stated it was her first go to to the Aurora occasion and, like Rodgers, stated Juneteenth was “one thing for everyone.”

“It’s everyone’s equal and all of us wish to be free and prosper. All of us need a good training for our youngsters,” she stated. “That’s the entire thought of all these holidays – to have totally different nationalities and to study from everyone.”

David Sharos is a contract reporter for The Beacon-Information.

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