Tri-state celebrates Juneteenth

SILVERTON, OH (FOX19) - This weekend marks the annual celebration of Juneteenth, a day in which African American slaves in Galveston, Texas found out they were free 2.5 years after president Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Cincinnati's Juneteenth celebration got underway this afternoon at Daniel Drake park.

The African American culture in the mid 1800's is brought to life through historical re-enactors like Gwen Gordon who portrays a slave named Matilda Lawrence.

"She ended up working for a family called the Burnie's who were abolitionists and they were actually newspaper people as well," explains Gordon. "They had a newspaper called the Cincinnati Gazette which is now the Cincinnati Enquirer."

Times have changed since the days of slavery and so have the problems facing the community. There were folks at the celebration dedicated to meeting those challenges.

Inez Derden lost her son to gun violence last year, but she says she encourages everyone to embrace their faith. "Individuals can know that they do have strength and faith when situations arise," said Derden. "If you trust in God, you can make it through all things."

Cincinnati Police Officer Louis Arnold says help is available for those he who it.

"Whatever your issue is, the obstacles you have in your life or the barriers you have, we have some organizations here that can assist in removing those barriers," said Arnold. "We want them to leave here with a sense of hope."

The Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency was also on hand to help those looking for work. The agency's Shirley Maul says

"We're trying to really connect people with the current job search process which is all on-line," said the agency's Shirley Maul. "People may not know how to really electronically do a resume, attach that resume to a job application that's done on-line."

The celebration also featured live music from a variety of bands.

The Juneteeth celebration continues Sunday at Drake park with a Father's Day concert.

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