Grand Rapids Celebrates Juneteenth with First-Ever Community Event
Grand Rapids held its first Juneteenth celebration on Sunday to commemorate the end of slavery following the Civil War and celebrate the accomplishments of Black people throughout the United States.
In 1886, the first Juneteenth celebration was held in Galveston, Texas. 156 years later, Grand Rapids held their first-ever Juneteenth celebration, highlighting African American culture and history.
The event saw a large crowd appear in the city for the holiday. The crowds supported Black-owned businesses, and near the end of the event, participants flew kites for the “Flight for Freedom” in conjunction with national Juneteenth events.
This event saw young and old attend, taking part in the different activities and learning about the importance of the day. With the holiday being signed into law in 2021 by President Biden, people may wonder what the best way to celebrate is.
“Understand the history of it, where it came from, how it happened,” said Nathaniel Coward, Co-Executive Director of Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness (VEMA). “Teach others and then celebrate it.”