Commemorating Freedom: Culture, food, and community at Juneteenth gathering

Tori Johnson |

Join Chippewa Valley residents on June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the liberation of black people from slavery. The free event will kick off at 5:30pm and feature various uplifting presentations including a proclamation from the city, a reciting of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s letter – which informed people in Texas on June 19, 1865, that slavery had ended – and a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation itself by younger members of the community. “Juneteenth has changed my life so much, and helps me to think about what my ancestors went through and how to change our future,” says Nivaya Lambert, a participant in this year’s event. Free food will be served at 6:30, with a menu including hot dogs, beans, chips, cake, and lemonade. Keynote speakers will be Dr. Dale Taylor, professor emeritus of music therapy at UW-Eau Claire, and state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, while local reggae/funk/jazz band Irie Sol will provide a free musical performance. Eau Claire’s Juneteenth celebration is organized by the nonprofit Uniting Bridges in the hope that the community will come together to celebrate diversity and learn how we can improve the future by acknowledging the past. The event saw more than 300 attendees last year, and Uniting Bridges is looking to top it! 

Juneteenth Celebration • Tuesday, June 19 • 5:30-8:30pm (music and food begin at 6:30pm) • Pine Pavilion, Carson Park • FREE •