Juneteenth Celebrations Take Place in Conn.

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Juneteenth events took place across Connecticut on Sunday.

As celebrations took over New Haven, people checked out vendors.

“We’re kind of Juneteenth year-round. There’s a lot of Afro-centric items here,” said Marcia Whittingham, Launch Clothing co-owner.

They also heard presentations and joined a bike ride to learn about key historical landmarks.

“What I wanted to do today was honor all, some of the Black history sites that are here in New Haven,” said Michael Twitty, Juneteenth Ride organizer.

Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery that takes place every year on June 19. Known by many names — including Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Black Independence Day — it became a federal holiday just last year. Here are four things to know about the holiday and its history.

One of the people taking part in the ride was Dee Marshall of Hamden.

“I’m saluting my cousin Opal Lee who lives in Texas,” Marshall said.

Opal Lee is considered the grandmother of Juneteenth.

“She actually walked miles and miles, got the petition signed and last year, it was made an official national holiday,” Marshall said.

And last year, Lee visited the White House as President Biden signed the bill.

“Over the course of decades she’s made it her mission to see this day come,” Biden said during the ceremony.

This weekend, Lee kept up her passion, leading a several mile march in Texas.

She began her walking campaign at age 90 to teach others about the importance of the holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

“Juneteenth is not a Texas thing. It’s not a Black thing. We’re talking about freedom for everyone,” Lee said in a video released by the White House.

Her determination makes her family in Connecticut proud as they see the day recognized here.

“It means a lot, especially to see the diversity because everyone needs to celebrate,” Marshall said.

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