Juneteenth celebration begin for the Heartland community

Juneteenth celebration begin for the Heartland community

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – Juneteenth celebrations are just getting started across the country as we head into the weekend, and that includes in the Heartland.

Two local organizers say this year’s Juneteenth celebration gives them an opportunity to recognize Black culture.

“We’re excited to just bring the community out for a time of just loving on our neighbors,” said Makenya Owens.

Makenya Owens is the Community Coordinator for One City in Cape Girardeau. Her organization is one of many in the Heartland hosting celebrations in honor of Juneteenth.

“We want to bring people out and let them have an opportunity to just see the beauty and enjoy the richness that the culture has to bring,” Owens said.

Over in Carbondale, the President of the Black Chamber of Commerce, Chastity Mays, is organizing the city’s Juneteenth Block Party.

“It just brings a diverse array of culture to Southern Illinois. So, we’re here to celebrate Juneteenth and the history of Juneteenth. So, we want to bring that history,” Mays said.

Their mission is to give black business leaders a platform during the event.

“We want everyone to know that black entrepreneurs are here,” Mays said. “We want to represent their businesses, and that’s the reason why we’re here. That’s why we want all of the Southern Illinois to come out.”

She expects the support will be there.

“We bring the culture, the safety, the family-friendly. It was huge last year and it’s going to be even bigger this year,” Mays said.

As Cape Girardeau’s celebration gets underway Friday afternoon, Owens hopes Juneteenth events continue to draw a crowd.

“This is our opportunity to do just that to celebrate and recognize a culture that kind of stays in the shadows. And I think it’s great when other communities can rally around and do the same thing,” Owens said.

These are just two of several Juneteenth events in the Heartland this weekend. All the stories are posted right now on the Heartland Weekend website.

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