Michael Howard, middle, the founder of Warren’s Juneteenth celebration, and Monica Papasian, left, one of the event sponsors, receive a proclamation from Warren Mayor Lori Stone.

Michael Howard, middle, the founder of Warren’s Juneteenth celebration, and Monica Papasian, left, one of the event sponsors, receive a proclamation from Warren Mayor Lori Stone.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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WARREN — Elected officials from state and city government joined residents from Warren, Center Line, Madison Heights, Sterling Heights and Detroit to celebrate the second Juneteenth celebration in Warren on the front lawn of City Hall on June 22.

“This year’s celebration demonstrated some of the progress that we have made that our ancestors and so many civil rights leaders have been advocating for,” said Michael Howard, the originator and founder of Warren’s Juneteenth event. “We are starting to see the reality of those hopes and dreams.”

Howard pointed to Melody Magee’s election as the first Black city leader. Magee, who was in attendance and on the stage for the event, was elected to the Warren City Council in November 2023 and was voted by her council peers to be its vice president.

Warren Mayor Lori Stone issued a proclamation. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was also in attendance.

“For me, it’s easy to do something one time. It’s easy to get engaged with hard work and advocating for progress and change in a community,” Howard said. “But when you do it the second time and the third time and the fourth time, it becomes harder. And that’s when the real work is actually done.”

Many in attendance were looking forward to the city’s second Juneteenth celebration, according to Howard. Some remembered the music from the Smoke Jones Detroit Band, which brought a mix of soul and blues and the comradery of the people in attendance.

“It was cool to see residents from five different cities converge at the City Hall in Warren to celebrate freedom,” Howard said. “And that’s really what it’s about, bringing folks together so that we continue to progress and make, as the mayor said, ‘a more perfect union.’”

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