Juneteenth in the Twin Cities

After a year marked by trauma, Twin Cities Black communities gathered to mark Juneteenth with music, food, and conversations about justice.

Feven Gerezgiher reports:


This Saturday, hundreds of Twin Cities residents celebrated a warm, sunny Juneteenth.


Gaye Adams Massey is CEO of YWCA Saint Paul. This year, the YWCA held Juneteenth festivities publicly for the first time, just blocks from the historic Black neighborhood of Rondo.


“This has been such a year for all of us with COVID, with a real focus on racial injustice in our communities,” said Adams Massey. “And looking for opportunities to celebrate something as important as Juneteenth with our entire community, we thought was a fun and special thing to do.”


The celebration featured local talents T. Mychael Rambo and Thomasina Petrus, while also showcasing upcoming stars such as the Walker West Youth Jazz Ensemble. 


In Minneapolis’s Seward neighborhood, LaDonna Sanders-Redmond offered libations to the ancestors before a food justice panel.


“Frederick Douglas…Nat Turner…Rosa Parks…Fanny Lou Hamer….ase, ase, ase,” she said.


While many embraced the day to be in community, the legacy of Juneteenth was not far from their minds. Kevin Reese is the founder of Until We Are All Free, an organization that supports incarcerated people and their families. He said the day reminds him of all those beaten, brutalized, murdered, or lynched.


“The next step is reparations,” said Reese. “The next step is we need to rewrite the Constitution. And we need to do reparations first and let everybody come back to the table on equal playing fields. And until we do that, everything else that we’re doing is just dressing.”

Photo Credit: KingDemetrius Pendleton


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