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Milwaukee comes together to celebrate Juneteenth despite coronavirus

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Juneteenth is a day that commemorates the end of slavery for Black people in this country.

And despite recent tragedy and strife in America, it’s something locals were determined to honor.

Music and dance were two parts of Black culture that brought people, of all ages, together on Friday, June 19.

“I feel like they’re family to me because Black people do matter and everyone should be treated properly," said nine-year-old Angel Mack.

Milwaukee’s 49th annual festival was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

But thanks, in part, to a group of young community organizers, the day would be honored.

“Cause they say crowds of Black people are intimidating, crowds of Black people – it’s going to be a riot, crowds of Black people – they're up to no good. And look at us, we’re hanging out, we’re having fun," event organizer and The People's Movement member, Destiny Monae said. "We're spending our Black dollars with our Black businesses."

Several state and local leaders showed their support.

“It’s hard to resist the chance to love on your community and on such a historic day when we know that this reminds us of how far we’ve come," State Representative David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) said.

And this reality was also embraced by students in Milwaukee.

“Even though we’re in a pandemic right now we’re coming as a community still, and we’re not afraid to show how we feel about our skin color,” Zenas Cooper, a junior at Carmen Schools, said.

Carmen Schools held its own Juneteenth event to empower youth.

“We want to let our children know that education is key," Carmen Schools Special Education Teacher Tameika Lawrence said.

In Milwaukee, the first Juneteenth Day celebration took place in 1971.

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