MARCHES, DEMONSTRATIONS and celebrations were taking place in cities across the country to mark Juneteenth, the day celebrating the end of slavery in the United States.
Major U.S. cities such as Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York City saw activity to commemorate the day, named for June 19th, that marks the liberation of slaves in the U.S. in 1865. Several states and cities have recently declared the day a holiday as racial tensions across the country are at a high and the last several weeks have been marked by protests.
A march to the Trump Hotel in D.C. was also scheduled.
In New York City, a celebration was held at the Brooklyn Public Library, and the words Black Lives Matter were painted on a road in Staten Island near where Eric Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by police officers in 2014.
Protesters marched in Manhattan to City Hall, shouting “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” A calendar of events has been arranged throughout the five boroughs, with marches, rallies, vigils and celebrations scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Nearly 1,000 people converged on downtown Chicago to commemorate Juneteenth, dancing to music played by a marching band. A separate interfaith rally had several local officials scheduled to speak.
In Minnesota, where George Floyd died last month after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, the catalyst for the recent protests, Gov. Tim Walz called on the state legislature to establish the day as a state holiday.
Several celebrations were being held around the city on Friday, with food, music, speakers, donations and educational information available. A bike ride and memorial run were being held on Saturday.
In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California was scheduled to hold a virtual celebration, and an event called A Rally For Black Independence was set to take place in Leimert Park with live music and a drum circle. A drive-thru parade was planned to make its way through several neighborhoods, passing black-owned businesses and establishments.