Mankato area celebrates Juneteenth

Mankato area celebrates Juneteenth

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Juneteenth in Mankato has grown more and more with each year.

The annual events always begin with a Freedom Walk starting at Shared Spaces in Mankato and ending at Civic Center plaza where the community welcomes the walkers with open arms.

Wednesday saw the seventh year of the walk that began in 2018, and since the day became a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrations have expanded into a citywide celebration.

The event is organized by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, who said that the growth of the annual event is a reflection of the growth of the community around it.

“The community has recognized the need to celebrate Juneteenth as our community grows more diverse throughout the years. I’ve been here for 28 years and I’ve seen the changes in this community,” said Mohamed Alsadig, executive director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council.

MCing the event was Xavier Thomas, a recent MSU Mankato graduate who founded Miracle Arts, a nonprofit aimed at equipping artists with the tools needed to turn their art into careers.

Thomas only just became involved with the Diversity Council in the past year, and believes that Juneteenth provides an opportunity to forge connections with people from every corner of the community that he’s grown to appreciate so much.

“Every time a moment like this happens where someone from dance meets a government official, you wouldn’t imagine those two people would get along but they snap.” Thomas said.

Thomas also believes that while the growth in diversity and community support has grown in the past few years, there’s still a lot of work to do to get everyone on board.

“There’s a lot of bad stigma towards Juneteenth still. That they’re going to go out there and clown and they’re going to make a mess. We’re here for community we’re here to grow. So for anyone that’s here and on the fence come out for two hours. Come see your people and it’s going to be a great moment.” said Thomas.

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