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The Eau Claire community celebrates Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Today the Eau Claire community came together to celebrate Juneteenth at the Pablo Center in downtown.

Hosted by the Uniting Bridges, a nonprofit working to promote racial reconciliation and build relationships in the Chippewa Valley, the event featured music, food, and history.

“This is a community event,” Event Organizer and UW-Eau Claire History Professor, Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, said. “What you’re seeing is the city working with community organizations, individuals in the community, and we’re bringing a lot of these resources to the community.”

Pablo Center Assistant Director, Rose Dolan-Neill, says the event is all about collaboration.

“We are always seeking partners in our community and Uniting Bridges, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are those wonderful fantastic partners that we couldn’t do an event like this without,” Dolan-Neill said.

Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021. Ducksworth-Lawton says she is honored to be able to help celebrate it.

“I think we have to understand that Juneteenth celebrates the first real step our country took towards being one nation for all,” Ducksworth-Lawton said.

On top of the many events that made-up today’s Juneteenth celebration, there were interactive exhibits created by two of Ducksworth-Lawton’s UW-Eau Claire students. These exhibits included historical documents to educate the community on history surrounding slavery.

“They can either click on one of these thumbnails and it gives them information about the Black Codes for that area, or they click the arrows,” said Ducksworth-Lawton.

Ducksworth-Lawton says in the future Unting Bridges is looking to expand the celebration.

“In the future I know Uniting Bridges wants to turn this into a week-long celebration where we work with the other collaborators,” Ducksworth-Lawton said.

The Pablo Center hopes to continue to support this celebration in the future.

“We hope that this event is very successful and that the community is engaged with it, and we hope to have this as an annual event,” Dolan-Neill said.

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