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Several Juneteenth events held Wednesday in Columbia, groups differ on funding for events


Juneteenth was on Wednesday and several celebrations for the holiday were held throughout Columbia.

This year, organizers were awarded nearly $24,000 for festivities through grant applications, which is the most the city has awarded for the holiday. Juneteenth recognizes the end of slavery in the United States.

A member of one of the nine groups that received funding, Raymond Gray of The Village, said a number rules came with the funding the group received. But he was glad that people were able to celebrate the holiday in the city.

"And so on paper, it looks like somebody is doing something great for our people," Gray said. "But in reality, that's not the case. And we have always funded everything ourselves and I think it's interesting. This is the first year they try to partner with us and it's been more problems, has been more cons, then it has been pros." 

CoMo Juneteenth committee member Scott Cristal was satisfied with the funding Wednesday's events received.

"I think it's great. I mean, the idea behind the city is to show that everybody needs to partake," he said.

Events were held mostly in public parks around the city. The Village's celebration was held at Cosmo Park, as was the Powerhouse Community Development's event. A Juneteenth community event took place at Douglass Park.

To start off the day of celebrations, the first Juneteenth wreath-laying ceremony to honor Black veterans in Mid-Missouri was held at the Boone County Memorial Plaza near the courthouse. Combat veterans who attended received Sgt. Shipley Medals. Sgt. James Shipley, of Tipton, was one of the original members of the famed "RED TAILS" of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Susan Haines, the National Executive Director of the U.S. Exercise Tiger Foundation said that Juneteenth is a special day and that it is a reason for them to remember those who have served and given their lives.

"Today is one of those special days for us to be able to recognize those people that this day has been set aside for," Haines said. "Especially, it's very important for us not to forget who our comrades in arms are and who that soldier is, or who that warrior is, that is standing by your side no matter what the battle was."

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Reagan Phillips

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