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CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH

Social Justice For Us group to host event Saturday in Marquette

At front, Sarah Skinner of Marquette County holds her ÒHuman FirstÓ sign during a Say Their Names protest held March 19 at the intersection of Third and Washington streets in Marquette. Skinner helped to organize the protest. Behind her is Freddy Sims of Marquette County, who is executive director of the group Social Justice For Us. Social Justice For Us will mark its one-year anniversary at its ÒJuneteenth: A Cultural CelebrationÓ event set for Saturday at Mattson Lower Harbor Park. (Journal file photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — The local group Social Justice For Us will continue celebrating its one-year anniversary at its “Juneteenth: A Cultural Celebration” event set for 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Mattson Lower Harbor Park.

“This event will engage the crowd through performance acts, spoken word, music and education while providing an everlasting feeling of glee and prosperity,” said Freddy Sims, executive director of SJFU, in a social media post. “Our celebration will be a continuance of our purpose to educate, extend kindness to and provide fellowship to all folk alike.”

Social Justice For Us’ Facebook page said entry to the event will be free, with tickets $1 each for games, snow cones and more, with 19 tickets offered for $13.

Sims pointed out that Juneteenth commemorates the day that all enslaved Americans were freed from captivity.

“After being liberated, they celebrated in the street, sharing food, culture and stories that they otherwise could not do before,” Sims said. “This celebration still happens over 150 years later. Now, SJFU would like to continue this tradition and bring new life to its purpose in our community.”

The Lake Superior Community Partnership has celebrated the first-year anniversary of the local group Social Justice For Us with a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony. Pictured from left are Brooke Quinn, LSCP business development representative; Freddy Sims, Social Justice For Us executive director; and Elijah Anderson, Social Justice For Us research and cybersecurity director. (Photo courtesy of the LSCP)

According to juneteenth.com, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

From its Galveston, Texas, origin in 1865, the observance of June 19 as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

“Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement,” the website reads. “It is a day, a week and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.

“Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.”

One of the first orders of business of Gen. Gordon Granger, a Union general during the Civil War, was to read to the people of Texas General Order No. 3, which began with this proclamation: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

The LSCP recently assisted Social Justice For Us with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark its one-year anniversary.

Social Justice For Us, located in the Campfire CoWorks space at 132 W. Washington St., Marquette, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on uplifting the voices of marginalized people in Marquette County.

Its mission is to promote socially aware critical thinking by providing education, spreading awareness, demonstrating peaceful community collaboration and distributing resources locally, according to an announcement from the LSCP. Social Justice For Us supports under-represented peoples, including but not limited to Black, indigenous and other people of color as well as LGBTQIA+ and impoverished communities.

For more information on Social Justice For Us or “Juneteenth: A Cultural Celebration,” visit socialjusticeforus.org, its Facebook page at Social Justice For Us or Instagram @socialjusticefor.us6, or email info@sjfumqt.org.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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