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Juneteenth event aims to educate younger generation

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Activist organization, 'Freedom, Inc.,' held a Juneteenth Freedom Fest in Aldo Leopold Park on Saturday.

The organization works with minority communities to fight for social justice.

Bianca Gomez is their Gender Justice Coordinator and she said they just wanted to celebrate the holiday with their people. The organization has been celebrating since before it became a federal holiday this year.

"We don't celebrate the Fourth of July, because our people were enslaved in 1776. But Juneteenth represents the day that our people were freed from enslavement in the United States," Gomez said.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday and it's a commemoration for the end of slavery. One June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas slaves were freed, but this was two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Mahnker Dahnweih is the Community Power Building Coordinator at Freedom, Inc. and she said she is proud of where the community is at, but work in Madison still needs to be done.

"I've always known that our people are resilient. Black people have been through enslavement. We've been through Jim Crow laws, we're now living through an era of mass incarceration," she said. "It means something for us to still be able to come together as a people and celebrate each other, and plan on the work that still needs to be done."

Crystal Ellis is the manager of power building at the organization and she said the event is about recognizing history.

"Our history of resistance, our history of liberation, and also recognizing the amount of work we still have to do," Ellis said. "We wanted it to be a joyful space; folks come out and get food, ice cream activities for children, but also some education around organizing, and how critical that is still, for our full liberation."

Payton Muse

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