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LA Juneteenth Celebrations Are Still Going Strong Today

A man looks at the Juneteenth sticker on his t-shirt during a demonstration to ask for the removal of District Attorney Jackie Lacey in front of the Hall of Justice, in Los Angeles, California, on June 17, 2020. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)
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Today is Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day in 1865 that slaves in Texas finally learned they were free, a mere two years after the Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery in America (news traveled slowly back then, thanks in part, to the many slaveholders in Texas who were not pleased with said news).

Celebrations of the holiday are bigger than ever this year across the country, given the timing of the many Black Lives Matter movement protests for racial justice, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

The streets of downtown Los Angeles are alive with several gatherings, marches and rallies today.

Students at LA Trade-Technical College marched from Flower and Washington to Downtown LA's Grand Park this afternoon. Jocelyn, who didn't want to give her last name, lives in Boyle Heights. She isn't a student, but felt inspired to join.

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"I believe it's important to just be out here and, you know, be part of the movement, show your support," she told KPCC/LAist. "Because this is what's needed right now."

Today's celebration isn't just about mourning the loss of Black lives, however. Activist and musician Elevn St. James said it's also a much needed moment of respite from the hate and suffering going on in the world right now.

"Everything has been so heavy," James told KPCC/LAist's Libby Denkmaan. "The Black community has been in a collective state of grieving. We need a moment to celebrate our voices, celebrate our stories and have some joy.”

LAist Visual Journalist Chava Sanchez is at the Juneteenth event in Leimert Park. Here's how he described the mood:

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"This is definitely a celebration, but at the same time, you see the effects of the last several weeks. You see the iconography of the Black Lives Matter movement, like images of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and various other people who have been killed by the police."

We will be updating this story with more from Juneteenth in L.A. Stay tuned tomorrow for a photo re-cap.


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