Across the Twin Cities this weekend, events are taking place to celebrate Juneteenth, the June 19 federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of the last enslaved Africans in America.

Juneteenth has been around since 1866, but in 2021 it became a federal holiday, and now people have new energy for their celebrations. Many kicked things off with a parade down Fremont Avenue in Minneapolis; an event to build unity in the community with dozens of organizations and groups on display.

“With everything we’ve been through, it’s a positive, something we need in North Minneapolis,” Terrance Frelix told FOX 9.

Much of Saturday’s fun centered around Bethune Park, where the crowd honored its history, while looking optimistically at what’s to come.

“This is really the time when black people can really celebrate our freedom,” said Jasmine D’avilar. “And just celebrate black joy and black businesses and just celebrate the culture that we have here.”

Nearby in north Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota held a June 19 inaugural celebration. The event centered on “blackness and the black experience”, featuring black vendors, speakers and performers.

“I think there’s always a need to celebrate black culture and black people,” D’avilar continued.

As she bounced between different gatherings around town, she said she hoped to see it all grow in the years to come, “We need more days like this, we need more opportunities, we need more than a month to celebrate our history because black history is American history,” D’avilar concluded.