Philadelphia celebrates Juneteenth with rally, march

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of people celebrated Juneteenth Saturday with a rally and march in West Philadelphia.

The organizers, Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative, had been fighting for the day to be recognized as a national holiday for years.

As President Joe Biden mad that official Thursday, the Philadelphia-based group had even more reason to celebrate.

"Making Juneteenth a national holiday, it's absolutely amazing," said Helen Salahuddin, a co-founder of the initiative.

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Sonni King, the producer of the Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival, said, "It's scaled back, but it's still here, and that's what's most important."

Because of the pandemic, the usual parade was scaled down to a march.

"It's so important that we understand our history and celebrate our history because we have been left out and left behind for so long," said Salahuddin.

Part of that celebration was feeding the community and putting the work of black artists on display at Malcolm X Park, which police commissioner Danielle Outlaw and her dog Morrison seemed to enjoy.

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This celebration is twofold, recognizing progress and realizing there's still a long way to go.

"There are still things we're working on, and that's going to come, but this is the first part of that stepping stone, and we are progressing, and that's what I love," said King.

After this celebration, organizers say they're getting back to work right away. They hope to target police reform in the city.
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