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Living Democracy student experiences Juneteenth

A crowd of hundreds gathered in the Opelika downtown square on Friday, June 19, for an event celebrating a far too often forgotten holiday: Juneteenth. The event was organized by several community groups and headed by community activist Janataka Holmes.

Community leaders spoke, artists performed, and business owners sold merchandise.

At the end of the event, those attending participated in a short march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The crowd was diverse, and many local organizations and officials were present to show support.

I am incredibly grateful to have been able to participate in this event. It is the first time that I have ever celebrated Juneteenth and educated myself on its significance. However, it certainly will not be the last.

Hearing the stories of African American citizens in my community was indescribably powerful. I believe being able to hear and share these stories represents an opportunity to move us all a step closer to a true freedom for all Americans. Now is the time for our community to radically start to listen to each other, to help each other heal and to acknowledge the value each of us contains.

To learn more about this Juneteenth 2020 event, enjoy a video created by storyteller Elly Arnold with the Fifty Fund: