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Juneteenth event seeks to heal with celebration

(Courtesy of Soul of Southside Festival)

The Soul of Southside festival is celebrating Juneteenth - the holiday marking the liberation of enslaved Black people - with local art and music, family-friendly activities, live performances, wellness offerings and food.

Married hip-hop duo, Sarah “Fancy” Lanier-Duncan and Emmanuel “Envy” Duncan, who together go by the name of iLLism, are the curators of the event. Lanier-Duncan says it’s particularly important to celebrate this day in Minnesota.

“This is just one of those states where it's the hardest for Black people to survive and be successful in. This is an opportunity to put the contributions of our communities on full display. Black liberation needs to be celebrated, Black joy needs to be celebrated. Our contributions to this country need to be celebrated,” said Lanier-Duncan.

The main event takes place at the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis, with pop-up events happening across the neighborhood with surrounding partners. Lanier-Duncan says they were inspired to base the celebration in South Minneapolis because it was home to the uprising following the murder of George Floyd.

“It’s important for Black folks to be able to come into this space and feel like this is where I'm supposed to be. I feel wanted here. I feel accepted here. I feel safe here. And I feel welcomed,” she said.

President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all Black people enslaved in confederate states to be free, on January 1, 1863. Juneteenth marks the date, two and a half years later, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and forced the state to liberate more than 250,000 people who were still enslaved.

Biden declared Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday in 2021.

“This is a celebration of our liberation. This is a day that no one can take away from us. So let's make it a memorable one,” said Emmanuel Duncan.

The festival takes place Monday, June 19 from 12-8pm and is free to the public. You can find the full schedule here.

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