Juneteenth Celebration held to celebrate end of slavery 149 year - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Juneteenth Celebration held to celebrate end of slavery 149 years ago

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The 15th annual Juneteenth Celebration in South Bend was held at LaSalle Park The 15th annual Juneteenth Celebration in South Bend was held at LaSalle Park
Many gathered at LaSalle Park in South Bend to celebrate the 149th Juneteenth Celebration. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery in America. This was the 15th annual celebration in the Michiana area.

Chair for the South Bend Chapter Indiana Black Expo (SBCIBE) Craig Clark says the celebration is a time where local community members and students are recognized for their achievements and contributions to the community. But he says the most important thing to remember is the significance of the day.

"It's a joyous day because of what it represents," Clark said. "I want them to know that this is something that our forefathers and ancestors fought for to become free from slavery."

Last year's Juneteenth celebration was a two day event. This year's event was only one day, but organizers still expected around a 1,000 people to come and go during the ten hour celebration.

Every year the event focuses on an issue to highlight. This year the theme was “Let's Get Moving: Fight Obesity and Diabetes.”

"Not only is diabetes an issue, obesity is an issue, not just in the black culture but in America period,” Youth Group President for SBCIBE Taloni Reese said. “And so I think it's just important for us to just really rally around each other."

Reese says her grandmother passed away due to diabetic complications. She says being able to promote healthy practices means that much more to her because of that experience . "It's a huge problem in our culture so basically what we want to do today is raise awareness. The younger we can get them, the better,” Reese said.

One of the ways to get the younger generation moving was to hold a bike ride. Helmets were given to all the children as well as a talk about bike safety. Seven-year-old Jordan Evins was one of the children on the bike ride.

"I had a lot of fun riding because we went in around in a square and it was so much fun," Evins said.

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in 1863. The first Juneteenth Celebration wasn't celebrated until two tears later when the last slaves in Galveston, Texas were told about their freedom..

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