Bemidji Celebrates Juneteenth
Today, June 19th, marks the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in America, also known as Juneteenth. Minnesota hosts one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country, and this year, Bemidji joined in with its first ever Juneteenth community event.
The program was hosted at Saint Bartholomew’s Church and featured many attendees taking turns to sing songs, read poems, and share their experiences as an African-American living in Bemidji. The group ended the evening with a prayer. The event was put together as a partnership between the church, the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, and Our Revolution Bemidji.
Joey Oppegard-Peltier, Our Revolution Bemidji Chair, says, “For many people of color, it is a day to reflect on the successes and the continuing struggles and the fight for racial equality.”
Soren Sorensen, St. Bartholomew’s Church Outreach Coordinator adds, “It’s important that Bemidji becomes comfortable with the national conversation about racial disparities because we see them here in town. We know that it is harder to get housing in this town, so today has got to be about the celebration, but we got to work on the rest of the struggle throughout the year.”
Organizers hope to grow the event in the future by adding more music traditional, African drums, dancing and soul food.