Second-annual Juneteenth celebration held in Boston’s Hyde Park

The second-annual, community-wide Juneteenth celebration in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood was held on Saturday, one day before the official federal holiday.Music and dancing filled Martini Memorial Shell Park for “Juneteenth Joy: Focus on Freedom.” Booths were also set up in the park to help educate people about the Juneteenth holiday.”I think it’s very important to show them their history, to be a part of it,” said Boston resident Susana Russell.Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.Several elected officials attended the celebration in Hyde Park, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who sponsored a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday.”Just a year ago, we were able to finally get that bill onto President Biden’s desk for his signature and it was long overdue,” Markey said.Markey worked with the Congressional Black Caucus on the Juneteenth bill. He said he drew inspiration from Opal Lee, a retired teacher who became known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.””She was the force that ultimately broke down the walls of opposition in the United States of America, so that we could celebrate today,” the senator said.Despite coming a long way in the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts, Wu said there is still work to be done.”Massachusetts really leads the nation in so many ways and Boston is proud to be right at the front for fighting for our rights and for our equity and equality, but we need to do more,” the mayor said.On Sunday, the day Juneteenth falls on, a parade will march from Boston’s Nubian Square to the National Center of Afro-American Artists to mark the holiday.Former Boston Mayor Kim Janey, the city’s first Black mayor, will be honored at the celebration, and Wu will deliver remarks.Organizers with the Boston Juneteenth Committee announced the parade will begin at 1 p.m. and a formal observance will follow at 4 p.m. on the grounds of the museum. The event will feature remarks from Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.The event’s theme is “purposeful action anchored in truth.”

The second-annual, community-wide Juneteenth celebration in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood was held on Saturday, one day before the official federal holiday.

Music and dancing filled Martini Memorial Shell Park for “Juneteenth Joy: Focus on Freedom.” Booths were also set up in the park to help educate people about the Juneteenth holiday.

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“I think it’s very important to show them their history, to be a part of it,” said Boston resident Susana Russell.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

Several elected officials attended the celebration in Hyde Park, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who sponsored a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

“Just a year ago, we were able to finally get that bill onto President Biden’s desk for his signature and it was long overdue,” Markey said.

Markey worked with the Congressional Black Caucus on the Juneteenth bill. He said he drew inspiration from Opal Lee, a retired teacher who became known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.”

“She was the force that ultimately broke down the walls of opposition in the United States of America, so that we could celebrate today,” the senator said.

Despite coming a long way in the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts, Wu said there is still work to be done.

“Massachusetts really leads the nation in so many ways and Boston is proud to be right at the front for fighting for our rights and for our equity and equality, but we need to do more,” the mayor said.

On Sunday, the day Juneteenth falls on, a parade will march from Boston’s Nubian Square to the National Center of Afro-American Artists to mark the holiday.

Former Boston Mayor Kim Janey, the city’s first Black mayor, will be honored at the celebration, and Wu will deliver remarks.

Organizers with the Boston Juneteenth Committee announced the parade will begin at 1 p.m. and a formal observance will follow at 4 p.m. on the grounds of the museum. The event will feature remarks from Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

The event’s theme is “purposeful action anchored in truth.”

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