Today’s Friday the Thirteenth, but it’s also the start of a weeklong celebration of “Juneteenth” in Iowa. Larger communities in the state are holding events to mark what’s seen as a major civil rights landmark. Minnie Mallard, at the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs, is helping organize some of the Juneteenth events in the state. She says they want to make people aware that it’s the second Independence Day in America, celebrating the end of slavery. While the slaves were freed with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it wasn’t until June 19th of 1865 that the last slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas. Mallard says Juneteenth celebrations commemorate freedom by emphasizing education and achievement through events to which all people are invited. Last year, Iowa became the seventh state in the U.S. to officially designate Juneteenth as an annual celebrated holiday. Mallard says this year’s celebration runs today through June 21st instead of being just one day, with different events in various communities each day. Juneteenth events are planned in many cities, including: Des Moines, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Waterloo and Sioux City. For more information, surf to “www.iowajuneteenth.org”.
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