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Juneteenth in Buffalo holds special meaning in 2022

For the first time in a couple of years, Juneteenth is not virtual and thousands flooded the streets for the parade and festival

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In the words of Maurice Brown of Buffalo, "we are here in full effect." He was one of thousands who attended the Juneteenth Festival. It is the 47th consecutive festival in the City of Buffalo.

The parade featured all kinds of entertainment from dancers, steppers, singers, bands, roller skaters and marching bands.

June 19, 1865, is the day enslaved African-Americans learned they were free. The holiday now recognizes African-American freedom with an emphasis on education and achievement.

Na'ima Flores said "Juneteenth is our independence day. It's a chance for us to remember and appreciate our ancestors, and all the fighting that they did for us."

The committee that puts together the festival boasts that Buffalo hosts the largest Juneteenth celebration outside of Texas.

This year there was special meaning for observers after a mass shooting of Black people at Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in East Buffalo, where 10 people were killed and three more wounded.

Halimah Madyun's mother-in-law was killed. She wanted to be at Juneteenth.

"We show our strength in numbers and let people know that you're not going to stop us. You're coming into our community, trying to take something away from us. It's not going to happen," Madyun said.

Here's some background on Juneteenth from Juneteenth.com

"It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society."

   

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