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Valley cities celebrate Juneteenth

Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 7:27 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - There were several Juneteenth celebrations around the Shenandoah Valley.

Magpie Diner in Harrisonburg hosted a Juneteenth celebration from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. The event had food, live music and a vaccine clinic early in the day. People from all over the Harrisonburg area came out to celebrate.

Harrisonburg city leaders and community members came out in droves to enjoy the festivities. Mayor Deanna Reed helped organize the event, she says she was excited to bring the city together to celebrate the African American Community.

The Staunton community also celebrated Juneteenth at the Frontier Culture Museum.

“Frontier Culture Museum is also an educational piece, but to have Juneteenth out here really fits in perfect with what we’re doing here in the Staunton community,” said Kenneth Venable, the Vice-President of the museum board of trustees.

The event had children’s activities, food, vendors, live music, speakers, and African history and art exhibits. After last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19 this year’s celebration was put together on relatively short notice.

“This year was a little bit more involved with less time due to COVID, so we just began celebrating and coordinating in April,” said Sheila Ahmadi, co-founder of the Shenandoah Valley Juneteenth Committee.

The museum hopes the learning experience it offered helps people of different backgrounds understand the history of the day and each other. Organizers say it is a time to remember all the struggles of the African American community, but also to celebrate and move forward together.

“We still see some issues even today, but we don’t have to let our past or even current issues hold us back, so I think we can move forward and enjoy life,” said George Hunter, co-founder of the Shenandoah Valley Juneteenth Committee.

Those behind the event in Harrisonburg hope the celebration helped people to understand the importance and true meaning of the day.

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