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Utah Organizer Describes Evolving Meaning Of Juneteenth

SALT LAKE CITY – This year’s upcoming celebration of Juneteenth took on new meaning after President Joe Biden signed a bill to make the day, which celebrates the end of slavery, a federal holiday. 

Lots of events were held in Utah Friday, commemorating Juneteenth. One was organized solely by young adults some of which are still in high school.

It’s a time in our history where thousands of people have joined forces to promote equality.  

Rising community leader Daud Mumin said the movement feels different.  

“I think Salt Lake has now created a culture where creating change is a mundane thing, it’s an everyday thing,” he said. 

Mumin is one of the young Black leaders that organized the Juneteenth celebration at Liberty Park for Saturday. 

He said the day, which commemorates the end of slavery, has now evolved into a celebration of Black communities.  

“Bringing together families, friends, partners and neighbors, and celebrating that we can make change. We can make change to justice,” he said. 

The 20-year-old college student believes more work is needed to help all marginalized communities with health care, housing and employment.  

Mumin said he’s confident that the younger generation will help move the ball.  

“It has to be an investment in the actual work that Black people will live long and safe lives.” he said. “I think people are starting to reckon with privilege and power, where sometimes people don’t recognize this, and we have to make it uncomfortable.” 

Gov. Spencer Cox declared June 19, 2021 as Juneteenth Day in Utah, although it is not an official state holiday.

June 19 is the permanent date for the new Juneteenth federal holiday. On that date in 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing the news of freedom to enslaved Black people. 

They arrived in Galveston two months after the Confederacy surrendered and more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. 

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