MILWAUKEE — The People's Movement, an organization that has been organizing protests and marches throughout the Milwaukee area for nearly a month, is hosting a Juneteenth Celebration on Friday, June 19.
The "Juneteenth Sit-In" is happening in the 3300 block of N. MLK Drive from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. "Juneteenth" is a combination of the words "June" and "Nineteenth".
It was on June 19, 1865, that word made it to Galveston, Texas that slaves were free.
The final slaves learned of their freedom on that day, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Organizers called the event, which features food, music, and street vendors, refreshing.
"Our message is no justice no peace," said Mariah Smith, People's Movement Organizer. "I think it’s going to be absolutely refreshing to take a day off and relax but, we're still here for that reason. We're still fighting for justice, fighting for all of that. But, we're celebrating. It’s our day to celebrate. Our people were freed today."
Many of the artists and vendors participating in today's event are African Americans who are from the Milwaukee area.
"I feel like today is our day to celebrate. We don’t have to worry about our feet being tired, we don’t have to worry about our legs being tired,"said Destiny Monae, People's Movement Organizer. "This is our Independence Day. So we want to celebrate our independence as well as give attention to black excellence, black businesses, black-owned businesses. That’s very important to us."
The event also served as a reminder to protesters and to the community to never give up on calls for justice and equality.
"Our ancestors have helped us to get to the place that we are now and it’s up to us to carry out that forward and make things go forward for our children," said Rebecca Burrell, People's Movement Organizer.