Juneteenth Sioux Falls includes history, family fun at new location

Juneteenth Sioux Falls includes history, family fun at new location
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -While many celebrated Juneteenth on Sunday, planning is in the final stages for Juneteenth Sioux Falls this Saturday, June 25th, at Kenny Anderson Park from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Board member JJ Johnson says it’s been a long process to bring awareness of the holiday to lawmakers, but persistence has paid off.

“It’s been far too long. So we are one of the last states to actually recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday,” said Johnson.

While enslaved people were freed by the emancipation proclamation in 1863, not everyone was aware it happened.

“It took another two and a half years for the slaves throughout the entire United States to be freed,” said Johnson.

The last enslaved people were in Texas. a proclamation was read, freeing about 250 thousand people.

“When they found out they were free, they started dancing in the middle of the streets and started celebrating, and it just became a tradition thereafter on June 19th,” said Johnson.

This weekend in Sioux Falls, you’ll find historical information on display, but you’re also invited to join the celebration of freedom.

There will be dancing, bouncy houses, speakers and a hair show.

“Showing their best braids, their best afros, their best hair things, and you put it on, kind of like a fashion show,” said Johnson.

Speaking at Monday’s Downtown Rotary club, Willette Capers shares the story and importance of Juneteenth.

“You know, we show up in many different ways, but we need to embrace it. We need to learn that history. We need to dig deep into that history. And then we need to make sure that we’re reconciling that history so that those things don’t happen again,” said Capers.

She sees Juneteenth as inclusion for all who struggle for freedom.

“It warms my heart to see people wanting to learn more about Juneteenth trying to figure out ways that, you know, they can educate themselves, educate their family,” said Capers.

Now that the state officially recognizes the holiday, Johnson hopes this is just the beginning of an annual celebration.

“So I hope, and a couple of years, it’s a huge festival throughout the entire state of South Dakota, and it continues to grow, and people continue to learn about this special holiday,” said Johnson.

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