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Roanoke Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Celebrates Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 7:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Juneteenth is the day slaves who did not know they were free, found out and had a celebration. The tradition of celebrating now continues around the US, and the Roanoke Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference held its 18th annual celebration Saturday.

The day was filled with reunions, food, performances and art bringing the community together in Washington Park. Pastor Edward Mitchell says it was very important for everyone to join.

“We have to keep doing these things to let people know that they have a right to be free,” said Pastor Mitchell.

Last year’s celebration was very small due to the pandemic. That is why this year the SCLC leaders were excited to hold a more normal celebration.

“But we won’t let it keep us in. Learn how to take care of ourselves. Keep our masks, do all the things we’re supposed to do,” added Pastor Mitchell.

Vaccines were provided at the event by the Virginia Department of Health to elders and kids. More than 10 people sat down to receive their vaccinations at the event that was provided by the Virginia Department of Health to elders and kids.

The NAACP youth council says this was a very special day for them to experience.

“It’s important because of what is happening in the world. We can come together and learn about stuff and have fun at the same time,” said Olivia Davoll.

Mayor Sherman Lea, one of the many speakers present, took the opportunity to urge everyone to come together and help stop ongoing gun-related violence in the community.

“But you, we have to do our part,” the mayor said during his speech.

The SCLC hopes everyone leaves inspired to keep fighting for their freedom.

“We don’t want the nation to forget the price that we paid for the freedom that we have,” explained Pastor Mitchell. “And if we don’t fight for it, we’re going to lose it.”

Although the celebration was Saturday, the national holiday will be commemorated for the second year in a row Sunday, June 19.

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