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Juneteenth celebration kicks off at Lee statue on Monument Avenue

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 13:35:31-04

RICHMOND, Va -- One of several Juneteenth celebrations in Richmond kicked off at the Lee statue on Monument Avenue Friday morning.

The event is set to last all day and includes free food, dancers, musicians, vendors and even tents set up to help citizens register to vote.

A brand new non-profit called the Richmond Action Alliance, was joined by other organizations to help put the festival together.

The celebration in honor of Juneteenth -- the anniversary of the day a Union general made the announcement proclaiming all slaves in Texas were free. On Wednesday, Governor Northam proposed legislation that would make it a state holiday.

Ida Allen and Ashley Cottingham, co-founders of The Richmond Action Alliance, said they wanted the focus of the festival to be on education and love.

"For us Juneteenth signifies the end of an era," said Allen. "It signifies the beginning of the end of oppression and segregation."

Cottingham echoed that statement, and said Juneteenth was specifically a celebration of black freedom.

"Today is just so important because black people need a holiday where they too can be celebrated," said Cottingham. "We deserve the same energy as people put into Fourth of July."