Inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Walk planned

CLEWISTON — The end of slavery in the U.S., known as Juneteenth, will be commemorated with an Inaugural Freedom Walk in America’s Sweetest Town. The organizers of the walk are working to obtain permits to allow them to cross U.S. 27. Once all permits have been acquired, they will announce more specific details such as time of day and the route.

If you are unfamiliar with the history of Juneteenth — on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Texas, and spread word that the war had ended.

Maj. Gen. Granger read the following proclamation: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation — which had been declared Jan. 1, 1863. Jubilant celebrations followed the reading of the proclamation, which began a tradition that has lasted for 155 years, and continues to this day, celebrated in cities across America.

The purpose of the Juneteenth Freedom Walk in Clewiston is to celebrate and promote change. People, who have not yet done so, will be able to register to vote during the event as well. This event is open to anyone who wants to join. Families are welcome and encouraged.

Dakota Ali, a recent graduate of Clewiston High School, shared news of the Juneteenth Freedom Walk on Facebook. Another of his posts read, “Systematic racism and hate are very prevalent in this country. Black men, women and children have been oppressed for hundreds of years. Inequality, injustice and violence have ravished the black community in the most stomach-wrenching way.” He went on, “It has been emotionally draining for me to witness the deep pain, suffering and anguish that my black brothers and sisters face every waking day for YEARS. All lives cannot matter if black lives don’t!”

For more information about this event, Contact Dr. Janet Holmes Peeples at 786-245-1067.

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