Former director of Juneteenth Day parade dedicated to celebration despite health issues

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Posted at 5:32 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 10:11:05-04

MILWAUKEE — In the last three decades, if you've enjoyed Juneteenth Day in Milwaukee - the food, the music, the parade, the pageant - you should familiarize yourself with the woman who helped put it all together.

Her name is Adriane Griffin. Until two years ago, Griffin was the director of Milwaukee's Juneteenth Day parade.

"After 35 years, I've got the set-up in my mind," Griffin told TMJ4 News.

In March of 2019, she lost her vision after having complications from a double lung transplant.

"She's been through a lot since she stepped away," said her twin sister, Adeline Hooker.

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Hooker says even while Griffin was sick, her dedication was unmatched. She recalls her sister went out in the pouring rain once to mark vendor spots along the parade route.

"She wants to be a part of it. She wants to be a part of the planning," Hooker said.

"She's been doing this so long that everybody knows it. Everybody loves her," she continued.

Griffin is a favorite at Northcott Neighborhood House, the community group that's organized Juneteenth Day for years.

Now, she's giving tips to twin sister Adeline, who is in charge of vendors for the 50th celebration this year. Griffin has still found a way to be involved.

"I am kind of teaching her my position," said Griffin.

"I really couldn't do half the stuff she did," said Hooker.

"Stepping in her shoes, those are big shoes to step in and I'm honored," Hooker said.

The sisters want others to realize why this tradition is so significant. It celebrates the end of slavery, but it also highlights the importance of unity, especially these days.

"At this time it doesn't mean freedom. We have a long way to go," Griffin said.

"Racism is still here in Wisconsin," her sister added.

"Just come on out and celebrate with us. We need this right now. Our community needs this."

You can also watch the Juneteenth parade here on TMJ4.

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