Durham business to host virtual Juneteenth celebration

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fans of live music remember when they could go out on Fridays for hours of entertainment before coronavirus concerns eliminated that option. But now, there's an opportunity emerging that's linked to a celebration of freedom.

It's Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. A word that President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation freed Black people from bondage in 1863 didn't reach enslaved people in Texas until more than two years later.

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Hundreds gathered for a Juneteenth parade in Denver. With the recent events following the death of George Floyd, organizers say the holiday means a bit more this year.



The date made recent headlines when President Trump said he'd hold a rally in Oklahoma on that date in Tulsa, where angry white mobs massacred African-Americans in a racially motivated attack 99 years ago. He moved the rally ahead one day, he tweeted, after his African-American friends advised him of the date's significance.

Now as the date approaches, Beyu Caffe owner Dorian Bolden is organizing a virtual event to commemorate the occasion while people maintain social distance from each other.

"You know, a virtual block party is another example of how we have to be creative. We're so excited about the community leaders and artists who have come together, in such a short time frame, to be a part of this. A hundred percent of the proceeds that we're raising on Juneteenth, which is gonna be streamed on Friday starting at 6 o'clock, a portion of it will go toward all the participating artists."

Another portion's earmarked for the Feed Durham Fund, which is fighting food insecurity. And it's happening at a time when some people are hearing about Juneteenth for the first time.
"Because of this younger generation," Bolden said. "Because of the beauty of celebrating Black culture, and the need to express that. I think it's a day of great celebration, so thank you to President Trump for bringing more awareness to this."

"I hope a lot of white people donate," said Beyu Caffe fan Meg Stein, in particular. I think it's really important that white folks give money to Black Lives Matter movements right now, and supporting our community."

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She and others applaud the effort, underway in a city known for peaceful protests while expressing concern about ugly behavior by some across the nation who are supposed to protect and serve.
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