A moving Juneteenth

Virus cancels normal parade, but marking of emancipation still observed with march

Posted 6/23/20

The Madisonville Juneteenth Organization celebrated the historic holiday over the weekend with a walk from the Madison County Courthouse to the Juneteenth Center Saturday and a community-wide event Friday, which saw an estimated 500 attendees.

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A moving Juneteenth

Virus cancels normal parade, but marking of emancipation still observed with march

Posted

The Madisonville Juneteenth Organization celebrated the historic holiday over the weekend with a walk from the Madison County Courthouse to the Juneteenth Center Saturday and a community-wide event Friday, which saw an estimated 500 attendees.

The walk, which was approved by city officials with an escort from the Madisonville Police Department, was scheduled in light of similar demonstrations taking place throughout the nation and world, sparked when an African American man named George Floyd was killed by a police officer on camera in Minneapolis May 25.

Demonstrators held signs and chanted demands in unison during their walk down Highway 21, Panama Street, Trinity Street, South MLK Blvd. to the Juneteenth Center on Seventh Street.

“It went great,” said April Ford, who helped organize the event. “We expected some more people, but we are okay with what we had. The main thing was getting out, shutting down the roads and letting everybody know that we stand for something.”

Numerous members of the MPD participated in the escort and also posed for a large group photo with the organizers once the walk reached its conclusion at the Juneteenth Center.

“With (the MPD) backing us, I think it made us stand out a little bit more,” said Ford. “Just knowing that our police officers were behind us and with us the whole way.”

The weekend’s events were put together by Ford, Trevor Johnson, Camry Isaac, Tyra McCloud, Sharda Manning and Destiny McKibbins, and came in lieu of a traditional parade.

“We planned this whole thing in just two weeks on really short notice,” said Isaac. “The whole community got behind us with support, volunteerism, donations and spreading the word. That is who made this come together. Everybody.”

“We just want to thank the entire Madisonville community and surrounding communities,” said McCloud. “We had a lot of single donation supporters, local businesses and businesses from out of town. We are grateful for that.”

The amount of attendees at Friday’s event, which was estimated around 500 individuals, came as a pleasant surprise to those involved.

“In Madisonville, it feels really good (to generate those numbers),” said Ford. “I think we expected about 300 and were well over that.”

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, authored a resolution that was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on June 19. The legislation, cosponsored by 207 representatives, would make “Juneteenth Independence Day” a national observance. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, offered a similar resolution cosponsored by 57 senators.

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