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Churches organize Juneteenth events in South Florida

RICHMOND, CA - JUNE 19:  P.J. Yates (L) and his sister Daijha Yates, members of Child of God, sing during the Juneteenth, Black Independence Day celebrations at Nichol Park on June 19, 2004 in Richmond, California. The holiday is celebrated in June because slaves in Texas and several other states did not learn of their freedom until June of 1865.  (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, CA - JUNE 19: P.J. Yates (L) and his sister Daijha Yates, members of Child of God, sing during the Juneteenth, Black Independence Day celebrations at Nichol Park on June 19, 2004 in Richmond, California. The holiday is celebrated in June because slaves in Texas and several other states did not learn of their freedom until June of 1865. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images) (2004 Getty Images)

MIAMI – Rev. Rhonda Thomas, of the New Generation Baptist Church in Opa-locka, said Friday’s Juneteenth will be marked with public memorial services and marches in South Florida.

Juneteenth, a nationwide event, is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day and the Black Fourth of July. This year it comes amid Black Lives Matter protests against racism.

“Juneteenth is supposed to be a day of celebrating black emancipation, and yet we are still enslaved to a system in which it is broken, unjust, and inhumane,” said Thomas, also the director of Faith in Florida, a non-profit organization aiming to increase civic engagement.

Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that the Confederate states’ more than 3 million slaves were free in 1863, the news did not reach Texas until Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the federal orders on June 19, 1865 in Galveston.

Thomas asked the participants of the Juneteenth events to practice social distancing and to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Here is the list of events in South Florida:

Broward County: 6:15 p.m. at Ingalls Park, 735 SW First St., in Hallandale Beach.

North Miami-Dade: 6 p.m. at Northwest 163rd Street and 38th Place, in Miami Gardens.

Central Miami-Dade: The 4 p.m. march will begin outside the Winn Dixie at 1150 NW 54 St., and the memorial service will follow at the Joseph Caleb Center, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. in Brownsville.

South Miami-Dade: 12 p.m. at Second Baptist Church, 11111 Pinkston St., in Richmond Heights.

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