BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The coronavirus pandemic forced a bit of a change in the way Juneteenth was be celebrated in Baton Rouge. It’s a change, however, that was fitting in several ways.
Historically, the Baton Rouge African American Museum (BRAAM), Community Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV), and State Representative C Denise Marcelle all held independent Juneteenth celebrations. This year, the three organizations and others combined to hold the Inaugural Unified Juneteenth Caravan 2020.
“It is so fitting that we are able to join forces in this, the very first Juneteenth after the murder of my mother Sadie Roberts-Joseph. As the Juneteenth director, she would be proud that we are able to join forces. It was a dream of hers, about which we had many conversations,” said Angela Machen.
A caravan also took place Saturday, June 20.
Registered participants remained with their vehicles for a brief Juneteenth presentation by Judge John Michael Guidry before traveling throughout the city from 22nd Street, to North Street, to Gus Young, North Foster, Evangeline, Plank Road, 72nd Avenue, and ending at Scenic Hwy.
Downtown, several folks gathered to celebrate with live music, art, local vendors, and more supporting the community.
“An air of unity and the promotion of the things and the contribution that the African Americans have contributed to not just the city and this state, but really this country. And so being able to see everyone come together, all colors, all economic backgrounds, and all educational backgrounds to come together and say, ‘hey, we are all in this together,’” said metro councilwoman Tara Wicker.
The event downtown also included freed COVID-19 testing.
Health experts were also there passing out free masks making sure everyone was safe.
There was even a chance for people to sign up for early voting.
“If you want to make a change that’s how you are going to start in your community, and you are going to start by voting. You know getting those people in the office that will want to fight to make a change,” said local artist Kristen Downing.
It’s a change that’s been occurring across the country for some time now with protests and demonstrations.
Everyone is coming together to make a difference while also working to find a sense of harmony.
“It’s a beautiful day every time we can get together in peace, kindness, love, joy, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding,” said Terry Brooks, a local vendor at the celebration.
As Juneteenth celebrations continue, a strong sense of community will always be there.
Click here to report a typo.