Dozens of events mark first official Juneteenth holiday in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS– The weather cooperating on a Saturday morning for folks showing up in Forest Park to take part in this Walkathon to celebrate Juneteenth.

Non-profit group Africans Rising Together 2063 organized the event. Mayor Tishaura Jones was the honorary chair for the inaugural walkathon. 

“I am hopeful that this opens conversations to actually see more stories like this about black history because this wasn’t taught in schools,” says Tishaura Jones, St. Louis Mayor.  “Just like the Tulsa riots was not taught in school.  The East St. Louis race riots were not taught in school.  So, this is an opportunity for us to reflect and learn our history.  The whole history about this country.” 

The family-friendly walkathon featured biographical information, historical artifacts, music, and stories honoring Juneteenth. 

Juneteenth, now a federal holiday marking the date June 19th, 1865, when enslaved Africans in Texas first learned of their freedom.   

“The Walkathon is to basically educate people and make them aware of what Juneteenth is about and make them aware of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation and educate them about the untold history of our story,” says Dr. James Tucker, Board Member National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. 

 A busy day for new St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones marking her 60th day in office with another stop at the Urban League headquarters. 

 The coalition of Black Trade Unions worked on a cleanup in the Kingsway neighborhood. 

“We’ve organized into groups and we’re going to do a clean-up of Dr. Martin Luther King all the way from Grand to Hodiamont Avenue,” says Lew Moye, president emeritus of the St. Louis Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.  “We’ve got dumpsters out there and volunteers from the different unions.  They’ll be out there with their trash bags and everything they need, picking up the trash.” 

 The rally and clean-up of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive brought together volunteers to help clean up the city. 

“This is a long time coming, one of the most horrific atrocities ever heaped on man by man has been recognized,” says James Clark, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.  “Now the healing can begin.” 

 That rally and clean-up and walkathon serve to unite the community. One of many Juneteenth events in St. Louis today. 

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