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Amid nationwide conversations on race, St. Joseph celebrates Juneteenth

This year's celebration at John Lucas Park was one of the most attended as well as the most diverse according to organizers.

Posted: Jun 21, 2020 12:56 PM
Updated: Jun 22, 2020 10:00 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It was a Juneteenth celebration like no other at John Lucas Park on Saturday. People of all colors celebrated the 155th anniversary of the end of all slavery in the U.S.

"I think that it’s important because people are more aware now," LaTonya Williams, main organizer, said. 

It was an event that almost didn’t happen due to Covid-19, but more recent events including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd brought more attention to the event.

Williams said she had just over a week to plan the revived celebration, she reached out to the community via social media for help.

The result was a picnic filled with fun and food, as well as a chance to network for local small black owned businesses.

Almario Thorton who owns Runn Lite Limited Goods, sells T-shirts and other miscellaneous apparel, said the high turnout meant more sales for his business.   

"We’re all just rallying together and doing the best that we can." He said. 

Voter registrars were also on hand at the celebration making sure people make their voices heard on this election year. Sharon Kosek, a Buchanan County voter registrar said with so much at stake in the upcoming elections registering to vote is a necessity. 

"Being upset is fine but in order to take action you need to register and you’ve got to get out there and vote." She said. 

Given the social climate, those who put this on said its so important to celebrate Juneteenth now more than ever.

"We are making history and I’m happy to be a part of it," Williams said. 

Organizers said this year's Juneteenth celebration was one of the more attended as well as diverse they've ever seen.  

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Clear and calm conditions will continue into this evening with lows falling into the upper 50s and lower 60s. Tuesday will be another warm and sunny day with highs making a run towards the 90s. A few isolated showers will be possible Wednesday afternoon and evening, however most of the day will be dry. Temperatures will start to cool down on Wednesday with highs in the mid 80s. 70s look to return on Thursday and last through the weekend. Rain chances also look to linger through the work week into the weekend.
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