Local Juneteenth Celebration Returns for 23rd Year
Uniting Bridges continues as host for City of Eau Claire’s Juneteenth commemoration
The 23rd annual Eau Claire Juneteenth celebration will take place Monday, June 19, at Pine Pavilion in Carson Park from 5:30-7:30pm. It is a day of commemoration dating back to the end of the Civil War in 1865, when the last enslaved individuals in Galveston, Texas, learned they had been emancipated.
“We look at the issue of bringing racial harmony to Eau Claire and maintaining that type of racial harmony within the city and the Chippewa Valley,” said Berlye Middleton, former city councilman and President of Uniting Bridges, the organization that has hosted Eau Claire’s Juneteenth celebration since 2000. The group was originally created to reduce the city’s racial turmoil of the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Eau Claire has been very progressive and forward-thinking,” Middleton said.
“I hope (people) can recognize and be proud of their community. ... All of those diversities can come together to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of each of those groups.”
PRESIDENT OF UNITING BRIDGES
When Eau Claire had its first Juneteenth event in 2000, it was the third city in the state to do so, behind Milwaukee and Madison. “We have been on the verge of making great strides in terms of making this a very peaceful and welcoming environment for all people; an environment where everyone has a voice.”
The Juneteenth celebration is completely free, including food and drinks. Multiple Eau Claire children’s organizations – including the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters – will be hosting different children's activities. The event’s perennial music group for the last 17 years, Irie Sol, will bring instrumental enjoyment. the Eau Claire City Council’s newly elected president, Emily Berge, and City Manager Stephanie Hirsch will be speakers at the event, along with this year’s keynote speaker Dr. Ka Vang, the city’s EDI coordinator.
“I hope (people) can recognize and be proud of their community, that it is forward-thinking and progressive in terms of we have a diverse population, genders, and of individuals in terms of economic status within our community,” Middleton said. “All of those diversities can come together to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of each of those groups.”
You can learn more about Uniting Bridges by visiting their Facebook page. Head to Carson Park's Pine Pavilion (741 Pavilion Drive, Eau Claire) on Monday, June 19, from 5:30-7:30pm for this year’s Juneteenth celebration.