What is Juneteenth and the significance of this important day?

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NEW ORLEANS– Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for African-Americans every year on June 19. We went to the Ashe Cultural Arts Center to learn about Juneteenth’s history.

“In 1865 here in New Orleans we learned that the Confederacy had been defeated,” Ashe Cultural Arts Center CEO Asali DeVan Ecclessiastes said. “Then, two years later on June 19 in 1867 in Texas, the enslaved people finally learned of their freedom. The very first Juneteenth celebration was in Congo Square with drums and songs and dances to mark the throwing off of the chains.”

She says it is important and should be recognized for many reasons, especially this year.

“This is a celebration of ourselves,” she said. “Even though our nation or any state has recognized it as a holiday.”

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is recognizing the special day with a proclamation declaring June 19 as “Juneteenth Day.”

“Inequity is not sustainable. Now it is time to end it. Time to mark time and have a new Juneteenth, so to speak. There can be a new celebration when we say in New Orleans, in America that we wrote the laws that said that this is no longer right. This is no longer fair and all the knees have to be removed from black folks necks,” she said.

The Juneteenth celebrations will be virtual this year because of Covid-19.

Log onto Facebook Live @Facebook.com/Ashe.CAC from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 19.

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