KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — “It’s important that we uplift Juneteenth, this is the black nation’s freedom day,” Constance Every, Black Lives Matter Knoxville chapter and founder of Black Coffee, said.
June 19 is a significant day in American history as it marks freedom, commemorating the end of slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863, it was on June 19, 1865 when news traveled to Texas that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free.
Everyone is expecting a great turnout for this year’s celebration after receiving an outpouring of community support ahead of Juneteenth.
A number of people were asking organizers when the next Black Lives Matter event was and how they can get involved after last Friday’s protest. Every decided to post on their Facebook page to help get community members involved. In minutes, the post saw over one hundred comments and a number of shares and likes.
“This is going to be exciting because we’re going to see a true definition of unity,” said Every.
The list of supporters runs long as Every notes she could list off the organizations and community members reaching out, wanting to support like Community Defense, Women LLC, City Councilwoman Gwen Mckenzie — just to name a few.
“Shout out to everybody and anybody trying to be involved with this, it’s going to be major,” said Every.
The community support is important, especially during a time of needed change.
“Nationally we need to do this to further increase our power, our movement and make sure that we are pushing for the same reform we are fighting for right now,” Every said. “Which is justice for the loss of life of George Floyd as well as the reform of the police departments nationally across this country. We have to put a stop to this and let’s use Juneteenth, as we have done the other movements around the country, to also uplift that power.”
At this time, Every says the upcoming Juneteenth event is completely funded and sponsored for, anything they need will be taken care of as they already have people offering to provide a number of services. Besides entertainment and food, Every says there is a plan to have voter registration available at the event as well noting, “because 2020 elections are critical right now. We have to make sure from the president all the way down to the local offices that we are removing people who are not on board about change.”
Juneteenth will be a peaceful event with security forces on ground as well as the police department to help protect the movement.
“We know that we do have people who are upset with this. People are not happy about change. So there are people that will sometimes try to attack the movement itself or do things to make it look like the vandalism and looting is coming from the crowd itself,” says Every, hence the need for security.
Every stresses that the event is designed around safety and the uplifting of the community.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the sea of people from multiple backgrounds multiple colors, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, sexualities — you name it, whatever makes us diversified is going to be dope to watch us come together as one and watch diversity melt away when we’re unifying for a cause and purpose that is about people’s lives,” Every said.
The Black Lives Matter Knoxville Juneteenth event is set to take place at Caswell Park in Knoxville from 6-9 p.m.
It will be accessible to all. If you would like to get involved Every encourages people to visit their Facebook page and comment on their post with your name and how you would like to get involved and they will reach out to help.