George Floyd Square marks Juneteenth in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - On Sunday, performers and vendors flocked to George Floyd Square to celebrate the federal holiday known as Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, marks the emancipation of the last Africans who were enslaved in the United States. It has long been associated with celebrations in the Black community.
"This is what it's all about: freedom," said Tiffany Stevens, owner of Tmarie-Maker of Pretty Things.
Not even the heat could keep people away from East 38th and Chicago Avenue on Sunday. In the square, a spot forever memorializing a piece of Minneapolis history, community members held a block party to commemorate the holiday.
An event on Sunday marked the Juneteenth at George Floyd. (FOX 9)
"Being able to walk up and down the street, and see all the signs and the writings, and everything that's on the ground is very special. And it's a constant reminder that we still need to fight," said Spencer Franklin, a member of Future Fighters.
Many members of the Black community feel this day is about unity.
"A lot of times us as African-Americans can be very individualized, and today was all about us as a people," said Tanesha Johnsaon, the executive director of K Goodz Jewelz.
But Juneteenth also serves as a reminder that there's still work to be done.
"Today is very important to me, and it's very important to all of us, I think because it's something that actually represents something that we're all trying to do. We're trying to fight an oppressor who really doesn't care. Juneteenth was when slave owners knew that slavery was abolished, but they just didn't care," Franklin said.
Community members built each other up with food, live music, and a pop-up shop at George Floyd Square.
"Who would have thought we would be able to come back here after what we saw–and celebrate?" Stevens said.
"It's a way to honor those that have fallen before us (and) unfortunately, those that will fall," Johnsaon said.
The block party even served as a place where Johnsaon and Stevens met and could collaborate for the first time.
"We're working as a team. So community, family, support, love," Stevens said.
They're asking those who didn’t attend the celebration to continue the fight with them.
"It's unfortunate that what happened, but it's also special that we can come together and still celebrate," Franklin said.
Franklin also said part of fighting the fight is bringing economic development to the north and south sides, particularly bringing in businesses that represent all the different groups of people who live in those communities.