Juneteenth and NAACP membership in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Juneteenth and NAACP membership in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

This weekend, many Americans will be celebrating Juneteenth. It marks June 19, 1865, when news of freedom finally reached the last group of slaves. That was in Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth comes on the heels of good news for Dubuque's local NAACP branch. This spring, it faced closure. It had fewer than 50 members, which is the minimum number required to stay open.

Through a rally of support, the Dubuque NAACP says it now has more than 90 members on board.

"The NAACP has met here at the center for years," Tara Velez said Thursday at the Multicultural Family Center in Dubuque, where she's the director. "We see their monthly meetings and we see a lot of the same faces, so I think the real challenge is going to see how many of those new members actually take an active stance in what the NAACP stands for and what they do in our community."

The Multicultural Family Center is partnering, in part, with the NAACP to celebrate Juneteenth at Dubuque's Comiskey Park Sunday.

"Juneteenth itself is a celebration of freedom in the US and specifically the success of African Americans and the contributions they make," Velez said.

The celebration will feature African American business owners from the community.

Wayne Lott, owner of Lott's Trucking, will be there.

"For any minority that owns a business, I think it's a great time to come out and show what your self-worth is, for having a business of your own," Lott said.

Donny Edwards will be at the event as a black business owner, too. He moved to Dubuque less than a year ago from Chicago and started his own business, the Art of Fruits.

"The key to being successful is always being very persistent," Edwards said, "and I chose to be persistent to this business I want to do, so it's really not too much about my racial background."

It's not about the color of his skin, he said, but the quality of his product.

Dubuque's Juneteenth celebration is from 3-6 p.m. at Comiskey Park.

In Cedar Rapids, the African American Museum of Iowa is holding an event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Viola Gibson Park. For more information, click HERE.

In Waterloo, an NAACP peace walk starts Saturday at 10 a.m. in Sullivan Park, heading toward Gates Park. That and more events in Waterloo are listed HERE.

All of the about events are free.

For more Juneteenth history, click HERE.

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