New energy added to Juneteenth celebration

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In a tradition that continues to grow, organizers of the Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival announced big plans for the day-long celebration.

It will feature everything from a parade to a tribute to Muhammad Ali.

"Our vision is to make the Juneteenth parade and festival in the city of Philadelphia the largest in the United States," said Ali Salahuddin, COO of the Juneteenth Parade & Festival.
Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the end of slavery. The date of the commemoration, June 19, is the day in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas delivering the news that slavery had ended.

That news came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

"All of us have history in this country. Some of it is good and some of it is really bad," said Mayor Jim Kenney, who is serving as the honorary host committee chair for the parade and festival. "We have to acknowledge the bad in order to cleanse ourselves from it."

The Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival began in 2016. In three years, it's grown to draw more than 10,000 people.

The event is proudly sponsored by 6abc Action News, which will broadcast the annual parade at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.

This year's celebration will take place on Saturday, June 22. It'll begin at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony at ParkWest Town Center at 52nd and Jefferson.

One big change to the event is a new route for the parade, which begins at noon.

The route starts at 52nd and Jefferson Streets and will move south on 52nd. This year's parade route was changed in order to highlight local businesses along the historic 52nd Street business district. Organizers say more than 2,000 participants are registered for the parade.

Neo Soul music duo Kindred The Family Soul, who live in the West Philadelphia area, will serve as grand marshals for the parade. They'll also perform at the festival, which will take place from noon-7p.m. at Malcolm X Park at 52nd and Pine Streets.

During the festival, there will be a ceremony renaming 52nd Street to Muhammad Ali Way.

"When Ali was here. 52nd Street was where he used to hang out," said Salahuddin.
Organizers hope that by expanding the celebration, it'll help more people understand the importance of Juneteenth.

"We know that one of the most important things we have to do is show our youth," said Helen Salahuddin, legal counsel for the Juneteenth Parade & Festival. "Show our children Who we are and what we are."
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