‘Black history is American history’: Juneteenth celebration held in downtown Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowans came together in downtown Des Moines on Saturday to celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Ruth Stewart, a grandmother and business owner, brought her grandchildren to downtown to celebrate the day.

“It’s about the truth. It’s about walking and living in truth right now, and so that’s where we are,” said Stewart. “And they’re not too young. I have my 2-year-old grandson over there, so he is learning.”

Juneteenth, or June 19th, is when the last slaves in Texas learned that they were free. Dwana Bradley is the general chairperson for Iowa Juneteenth. She says it is the first time the organization has celebrated the holiday downtown.

“Black history is American history. It’s important to know this is what we went through. This [Juneteenth Celebration] is an educational moment. We need allies, people who can walk alongside us, who can change those policies and those laws,” said Bradley.

While people celebrated Juneteenth, Stewart believes that African Americans must continue fighting for equality.

“I’m looking to see more. We need to put the pressure on who we [are] putting in office, so let’s do it, let’s do it,” Stewart said.

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