Celebration of Freedom Takes Place Saturday in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa – An annual celebration of freedom will bring thousands of people to one metro park this Saturday.

Juneteenth takes place at Evelyn K. Davis Park. Organizers expect about 5,000 people. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19th, 1865.

The first Juneteenth in Des Moines happened in 1990, and it became an official holiday in Iowa in 2002. Organizers say the celebration is becoming even more important.

“With the world we live in now, and there's so many things going on, I think it is challenging to bring us together. I think there is a divisiveness that has happened in our community and the United States as a whole, and I really think this celebration is unique because it brings us together,” said Dwana Bradley, Iowa Juneteenth Observance Executive Director.

“It's bringing us together, no matter who we are. It's open to everyone, but this really is a time for African Americans to celebrate who they are, kind of look at our past and look where we are presently, but then give us hope for the future as well,” Bradley added.

Juneteenth is Saturday, June 16th from noon to 5 p.m. It's at the Evelyn K. Davis Park in Des Moines. You can learn more about Juneteenth at www.iowajuneteenth.com.