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Eau Claire-area Juneteenth celebration set for June 19 in Carson Park

| Denise Olson

Photo caption: This year's Juneteenth celebration will feature talented area artists like Irie Sol, seen here performing at the 2019 event.

After holding a virtual event in 2020, Eau Claire’s Uniting Bridges will again host an in-person celebration of Juneteenth at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at the Pine Pavilion in Eau Claire’s Carson Park.

The oldest-known celebration marking the end of slavery in the U.S., Juneteenth dates from 1865, when, on June 19, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were to be freed. Today, cities across the country organize gatherings of multiple races, nationalities and religions to acknowledge a period in history that shaped and continues to influence American society, celebrating Juneteenth in commemoration of African American freedom, education and achievement.

Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, is president of Uniting Bridges, a nonprofit group advocating on behalf of underrepresented groups in the Chippewa Valley. Ducksworth-Lawton is thrilled that the Juneteenth event can take place in person once again, and she has helped to coordinate a day full of history, music and education aimed at uniting a community she says is enriched by its diversity.

“We are so glad to gather together to celebrate Juneteenth. Uniting Bridges is happy to work with our partners to bring the community together for this event,” Ducksworth-Lawton says. “Community, government, education and nonprofits working together is what makes this a stronger, more welcoming and more inclusive community. Juneteenth celebrates that unity and achievement in the face of obstacles. Juneteenth is a gift that is for everyone, as we celebrate the end of slavery and the U.S. Army’s triumph in the Civil War. It was the first step to truly making us one nation, indivisible.”

Dale Talyor and Dale Peters at 2019

Dr. Dale Taylor, professor emeritus of music and theatre arts (left), and former Eau Claire city manager Dale Peters enjoy the food and festivities at the 2019 Juneteenth celebration.

This event is free and open to the public, and will feature entertainment from regionally based music artists Irie Sol, Naalia and Samantha Moon. There also will be a spoken-word performance from Daminius the Artist.

Area nonprofits such as Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope (JONAH) and Chippewa Valley Votes will offer information and opportunities to join other activism at the celebration.

The 2021 Juneteenth celebration is sponsored by:

  • Pablo Center at the Confluence.
  • UW-Eau Claire Chancellor's Office.
  • UW-Eau Claire Office of Multicultural Affairs.
  • Royal Credit Union.
  • Leinenkugel’s Inc.
  • UW-Eau Claire Affirmative Action Office.
  • UW-Eau Claire history department.
  • Visit Eau Claire Foundation.
  • City of Eau Claire.
  • City of Altoona.

For more information, visit the event's Facebook page or contact Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton at 715-836-4886 or unitingbridges@gmail.com.