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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

How to celebrate Juneteenth in Iowa

With the death of George Floyd, more attention is being paid to the holiday than ever before.

Friday marks Juneteenth, the celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and slaves were now free.

This was two-and-a-half years after slavery was formally abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation.

It has become a day to remember, celebrate and recognize what still needs to be done.

This year, Iowa Juneteenth has taken their three-day festival virtual.

And with the death of George Floyd, more attention is being paid to the holiday than ever before.

"What I want to encourage people to do is to continue to check yourselves for years to come. Don’t let this just be the year that you check yourself because it looks good and everyone’s doing it," Iowa Juneteenth General Chairperson Dwana Bradley told Local 5. "Take a deep dive into yourself, reflect on yourself and say 'What changes do I need to make so that going forward I can continue to be an ally and a voice for people of color ...?'"

WATCH: What is the history behind Juneteenth?

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The festival includes an award banquet and a day dedicated to health. Saturday is a day full of live performances, streamed straight to your device.

"We can sit and remember our past, and when we think about our past and we’re talking about the ending of slavery, there will be many people that still to this date say not so much has felt like it’s changed," Iowa Juneteenth General Chairperson Dwana Bradley said. "Yes, I have the freedom to have my own home and speak out and do things. But there’s still some systemic things that are not right for African-Americans. But what I also want to do while we can still have those conversations, we still need to celebrate us and who we are."

The broadcast can be found on DSMTV Live's Facebook or YouTube pages, or on the Iowa Juneteenth Facebook page.

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