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Activists planning Juneteenth rally to continue momentum for change

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The traditional Juneteenth celebrations in Madison have moved online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but two young activists are hoping to bring people together this year.

N'dia Jones and Teeanna Brisco are organizing a Juneteenth rally on Friday at Olin Park.

"With the significance of Juneteenth, felt like that would be a good day to do something and then from there, the idea just grew really rapidly via social media, and we started to see that we were going to have a lot of people coming out," Brisco said. "It quickly picked up and it kind of went from a small idea to a much larger planning for the rally."

They're aiming to bring the message of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the end of slavery, in line with the community's calls for change to end disparities.

"When we talk about the idea of being free, most black people in America right now don't really feel a sense of freedom. You know, there's this concept that we're a little bit free but not all the way," Jones said.

It will be a space for the momentum of protests after the death of George Floyd to become change.

"A lot of the support and statements that have come from people in our community now have to kind of be put into an action plan," Brisco told 27 News. "Just having people create relationships with people who look different than them, and learning that there is a role that everybody can play."

The two want to focus on issues of education, health and police-community relationships.

The event will include fun like food, drinks, games and yoga, but also aims to inspire action. Volunteers will help people register to vote and they'll offer art to help people heal.

"We really wanted to take the time to celebrate black joy, black community, what that looks like," Jones said. "Really showcase to the community that, you know, we can do something positive in a time like this, and bringing everyone together for a good cause."

The Juneteenth Rally runs from noon to 7 at Olin Park. Click here for more information.

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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