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‘We're celebrating unity, we're celebrating love’: Juneteenth celebration held at the Meadowlands

One of New Jersey's biggest Juneteenth celebrations happened Sunday at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford.

News 12 Staff

Jun 20, 2022, 11:11 AM

Updated 734 days ago

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One of New Jersey's biggest Juneteenth celebrations happened Sunday at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford.
“We are acknowledging the freedom of African Americans,” says Tara Strigler, with Monday Eve & Co. “We're celebrating unity, we're celebrating love … empowerment amongst our people.”
Juneteenth celebrations throughout the state continue today. New Jersey residents have been celebrating since Friday when the holiday was observed in the state – many reflecting on its importance in American history to all Americans, especially to Black Americans.
“We celebrate Independence Day, but we're never truly independent and free in this country,” says Cliff Mills, with Afro Taco. “I love America, I love everything that it provides, but Juneteenth provides that feeling that this is ours.”
Last year, Juneteenth became a state holiday and then a federal holiday. It marks the day in 1865 when enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas found out, nearly two years later, of the Emancipation Proclamation and that they were free.
Now, 157 years later, many commemorate the day with celebrations complete with food and festivals and street vendors. News 12 talked with some of the vendors, who said attending Juneteenth celebrations has bolstered their businesses -- especially after struggling through the pandemic
“I was a vendor at Juneteenth last year as well, I sold out of my candles, and I expect to do the same this year,” says Strigler.
Juneteenth NJ has hosted the event for the past three years, long before it was a state and federal holiday. Organizers say it gets bigger and better every year.
“Growing from 5,000 in 2020 to 18,000 in 2022, I'm excited to see what's going to happen this year,” says Stevens Germain, with Juneteenth NJ. “It is the biggest event in Jersey it might be one of the biggest in the country.”


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