Safety a priority as Juneteenth Day Parade preps to return to in-person celebration

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 19:35:04-04

MILWAUKEE — The 50th celebration of Juneteenth will be like no other as it plans to return in 2021.

The generations-old tradition continues. Juneteenth in Milwaukee is back on after COVID-19 canceled last year’s in-person festivities.

“It’s just not an African American holiday. It's an American holiday, and everyone is welcome at Juneteenth,” said Tony Kearney, executive director of Northcott Neighborhood House.

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This year in the Harambee neighborhood, there's a buzz about its return, as it marks another year of celebrating Black independence in America through community fellowship.

“My mom sells homemade candles. We have a booth down there. So, it means a lot,” said Kania Norman, a Bronzeville resident.

Others are looking forward to other things.

“The food, the people, the experience, the environment, the culture. All of that,” said resident Dupree Burns.

With 'all of that' coming back this year - the merchants, the food and the performers - there is also a responsibility to keep people safe as African-American communities have been hit hardest by COVID-19.

“We want to make sure our community is well-educated about COVID-19: the risk factors as well as opportunities to receive all three COVID-19 vaccines,” said Tito Izard M.D. of Milwaukee Health Services, Inc.

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Despite the city of Milwaukee lifting its restrictions, Juneteenth organizers will encourage masks and social distancing. It is partnering with Walgreens on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near Locust to help vaccinate people attending the festival.

However, as vaccines take time to take effect, Juneteenth ambassadors will be around to hand out personal protective equipment, or PPE, to anyone who needs it.

You can watch Juneteenth in Milwaukee here on TMJ4.

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