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Wesley Center To Celebrate Juneteenth This Weekend

People dance onstage at last year's Juneteenth Festival.
Wesley Community Center
People dance onstage at last year's Juneteenth Festival.

June 19 marks the anniversary of the day slavery was abolished in 1865. Today, that anniversary is known as “Juneteenth". According to the Wesley Community Center’s Executive Director Yvette Kelly-Fields, the holiday started in Texas and is now a national holiday.

"It celebrates the last slaves in Texas being made aware of the Emancipation Proclamation," Kelly-Fields said. "And they were told June 19, 1865, which is two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect...So that holiday for African Americans is considered the African American independence day."

The Wesley Center in Dayton is holding a celebration Saturday that includes workshops, a 5K run and a historical exhibit. Kelly-Fields said the festival will focus on voter education and supporting organizations fighting for justice.

"When you see an injustice happening, we want to make sure that people know how [they can] take action," Kelly-Fields said. "[They] might read about it, but have no idea where to start. Our goal with Juneteenth is to give you a place to start."

The Wesley Center's 2018 Juneteenth Celebration is Saturday, June 16, 8am-5pm at McIntosh Park in Dayton. More information at: http://wesleycenterdayton.org/