Monmouth County commemorates Juneteenth with parades and festivals

A celebration of freedom was held in Monmouth County with an over one-mile long parade from Neptune to Asbury Park, and with a festival at Springwood Park.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2021, 1:29 PM

Updated 1,033 days ago

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Juneteenth commemoration events were held across New Jersey Saturday as the nation celebrated it as a federal holiday for the first time.
A celebration of freedom was held in Monmouth County with an over one-mile long parade from Neptune to Asbury Park, and with a festival at Springwood Park.
Juneteenth honors the announcement by Union Army Major General Granger on June 19, 1865 notifying slaves in Texas they were free— the last southern state to abolish slavery.
However, the road to freedom was still a long journey for Black Americans.
"It's important to have a good time because that is what this day is all about, it's about celebrating and having fun, but it's also the different generations of talking to one another and different cultures and races of people that come together to learn from one another,” says Dianna Harris, the chair, Neptune Black History Month Committee.
Harris adds, “They’re not just celebrating the union general coming in and announcing that the Civil War was over and announcing that the slaves were free. We are celebrating their struggle to secure their own freedom."
Rabbi Marc Kline and Pastor Semaj Vanzant came together five years ago to organize Juneteenth celebrations in Asbury Park and Neptune. Saturday, the tradition continued as people of many cultures came together to celebrate in those cities.
Leaders in the community emphasize work still needs to be done to ensure equality including voting rights, fair policing and support for black entrepreneurship.
"We need developers that are coming in this area and working with the community, which is vitally important to find out what the needs of the community are,” Harris says. “We are putting businesses and establishments here that are going to be supported by the community."
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