Thousands turn out for Juneteenth rally, celebration in Salt Lake City

Juneteenth rally and block party at Washington Square Park, Salt Lake City, on Friday, June 19, 2020. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 20, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — On Juneteenth, the day celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, people of all backgrounds marched through Salt Lake City to the Capitol to protest against racism.

It was a peaceful show of solidarity that began at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Washington Square Park and culminated in a block party in the park at 4:30 p.m. The event included a concert, a farmer’s market, and a festival.

This is not to say the participants were complacent. They carried signs demanding justice and police reform. They were marching not just for civil rights, but for human rights. They chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Black lives matter.”

The rally was organized by Solidarity for Justice, a Black and POC-led non-profit organization whose mission is “to build bridges of communication and understanding between law enforcement, people of color, society, and public officials who create legislation,” according to the SFJ Facebook page.

The purpose of the block party was to celebrate Black lives and June 19, the day in 1865 when Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived at Galveston, Texas, to let everyone there know the Civil War was over and slaves were now free. The Emancipation Proclamation had been official since January 1, 1863, but had not been enforced in Texas because of a lack of Union troops there prior to the end of the war in 1865.


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