‘We’ve Been Through A Lot This Year’: Denver To Celebrate Juneteenth With Annual Parade, Virtual Music Festival

Juneteenth on Welton Street, June 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Juneteenth on Welton Street, June 15, 2019.

Denver will hold its annual parade celebrating Juneteenth Saturday in Five Points.

Juneteenth is officially the following Friday, June 19. The holiday commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the country, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

"We've been through a lot this year," said Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson, who is helping spread the word for the Juneteenth Music Festival. "This is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and celebrate different African Americans ... celebrate their accomplishments and also make sure we are doing the work to celebrate us as a culture and as a people."

The parade is still happening, despite the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down most summer festivals, but the music portion of the celebration was moved online.

Organizers are expecting a couple thousand people to attend. They are asking that attendees get tested for the coronavirus, wear masks and try to keep six feet apart wherever possible.

"I am planning on going to be in solidarity with people, to remember the day, to also counteract that President Trump is having a rally on the same day in Tulsa," said Isabella O'Brien.

President Donald Trump will be back on the campaign trail on Juneteenth with a rally held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of the massacre of hundreds of Black people by white mobs in 1921.

"We have so much to celebrate especially with what Black elected officials have been doing across the state to make sure we are bringing comprehensive reforms in the wake of the George Floyd protests," Anderson said.

Floyd was a Black Minneapolis man who was killed while in police custody in May. Protests around the nation have sparked conversation and legislation about reforming policing and systemic racism around the U.S.

The parade will start at Manual High School at 11 a.m. and move through the Whittier and Five Points neighborhoods before going back to Manual.