Thousands march in Denver’s Juneteenth Parade to kick off the weekend celebrations

DENVER – Thousands of Coloradans will celebrate Juneteenth this weekend in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood.

Juneteenth marks the day enslaved people in Texas learned they were free – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

The festivities kicked off with one of the city’s oldest parades, which started at Manual High School and moved down Welton Street to the Juneteenth Music Festival.

This year’s festival features Bow Wow, an American rapper and actor who will lead a lineup of local artists highlighting Denver’s rich celebration of cultural heritage and music.

Alicia Smith-Young was one of the people who marched – or should we say, jumped and jumped – in Denver’s Juneteenth Parade with the 40+ Double Dutch Club.

“We are here to celebrate freedom – the freedom to play, the freedom to be American and the freedom to live your life,” she said.

The Denver Juneteenth Parade dates back to the 1950s and symbolically follows the journey of the last emancipated slaves.

“Marching in, seeing the whole community on the sidelines, being able to represent and support everyone, being together, being happy, you know, peaceful… it’s a beautiful thing,” said Nikki Smith, who led the Colorado Community Elite Drill Team -girls. along the parade route.

With drums, marching and dancing, it is a celebration of triumph.

Longtime visitors say it’s a celebration that continues to spread every year.

“I love it. It’s gotten bigger. I did security for it four or five years ago, and it’s grown so much,” said Morris Luckey, who marched in the parade with youth from his nonprofit Boys Day.

“Right now, I think that’s what we need in this world. We need community, and ultimately we need to show each other that we all have red blood in our bodies and hearts, right?” said Smith-Young. “It doesn’t matter what the skin color is on the outside. It’s about what unites us and not what divides us.”

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