Juneteenth typically celebrates the emancipation of the last remaining African slaves in the United States, but this year’s was marked in Louisville by the killings of Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and George Floyd by law enforcement.
About 200 people gathered June 19 in Jefferson Square Park for Juneteenth during an event hosted by the Roots101 African American Museum, Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and Prolific Services LLC. People were encouraged to wear their African print apparel as well as their Black Pride or Juneteenth T-shirts, and vendors were encouraged to adorn their booths with African symbols of love, strength and peace. The celebration included traditional African music and dance as well as skits.
A procession of about 100 people left Jefferson Square Park and marched to Roots101 on Main Street near Eighth Street with several carrying a black casket bearing the names of victims of police brutality. The casket will become a part of an exhibit in the Roots 101 African American Museum.
“By having our Black men carry it, it’s like we’re carrying the burden of all the victims that have been killed by police brutality,” Fateemah Muhammad with Roots101 said. “It could have been one of those men.” Once back in Jefferson Square Park, people were offered the chance to write their thoughts, ideas for change and notes to the victims’ families. Said Muhammad: “We just want people to be aware that it could happen to anyone. People don’t know, and we just want to educate people that this is happening, and it’s real.”
Check out these photos from the day.