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Brookings holds 3rd annual Juneteenth Celebration

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 8:10 PM CDT
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Today was the 3rd annual Brookings Juneteenth Celebration and community members were excited to come together.

The celebration was put on by the Brookings Human Rights Commission

It included various keynote speakers, food vendors, children’s activities, and a library, along with other tents.

The event is meant to commemorate the news of the emancipation reaching over 250,00 enslaved people in Texas, the final group to learn of their freedom nearly two years after the proclamation. That day, June 19th, 1865, became known as Juneteenth.

Kas Williams was a keynote speaker at the event and says it’s important to come together for events like these and celebrate different freedoms.

“Listen to the song by Donny Hathaway. In the song he said, take it from me, someday all of us will be free. You see we all entered this country in different ways, so freedom means different things to different people, and we need to celebrate and honor that,” said Kas Williams, keynote speaker.

Alex Wood, assistant director for multicultural affairs agrees and urges people to get involved in making a difference.

“Regardless of your background, celebrate, learn. Look at that possibility of what you can do to make this even bigger and better and spread that word even further,” said Alex Wood, Assistant director for multicultural affairs.

Mayor Ope Niemeyer was also at the event and says this helps to show the community that all are welcome.

“We like to say that Brookings is inclusive for anyone, doesn’t matter where you are from, who you love, what color you are,” said Mayor Ope Niemeyer, Brookings.

Nieema Thasing, Chair of the Brookings Human Rights Commission says it’s also about understanding.

“One of the things that is necessary in terms of diversity is understanding. If you don’t understand and don’t know then sometimes it’s frightening,” said Nieema Thasing, Chair of the Brookings Human Rights Commission.

Dr. Erica Moore, on the Brookings Human Rights Commission, acknowledges much of the pain in history but says it’s still important to celebrate different triumphs.

“When we had the first march and trying to remember George Floyd and out of that pain much like Juneteenth out of the pain of slavery we came together and made it a celebration,” said Dr. Erica Moore, of the Brookings Human Rights Commission.

The Brookings Human Rights Commission is excited to see the Juneteenth celebration grow in years to come.

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