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  • News 5 Cleveland WEWS

    Akron to move forward with Juneteenth Festival with increased police presence

    By Remi Murrey,


    Next Wednesday is Juneteenth, and Akron is one of many communities across Northeast Ohio that have celebrations planned, including the activation of its splash pad.

    “This year is a very exciting year because it’s our fifth year,” said former Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley Weems. “Even in the midst of everything that’s going on in the last week here in the city, right here in East Akron, people are just excited.”

    It's been a difficult nine days for the Akron community following a deadly shooting at a street party that left 28 people injured and one man dead on the city’s East Side.

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    Despite this tragedy, the community is still pulling together to host this Saturday’s Juneteenth celebration at Joy Park Community Center.

    “We can’t live in fear. I believe the police officers are doing their job. They’re tracking down all the leads they can,” said Mosley Weems.

    Juneteenth, or June 19, is a federal holiday that marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas.

    Many cities like Akron host big celebrations, which Mosley Weems says they will do to honor the day, along with keeping people safe.

    “Because of what happened, we’ll have an even bigger police presence, and I think that’ll give a lot of people comfort,” said Mosley Weems.

    Although Mosley Weems says they have not had an issue at any of their Juneteenth events, Pastor Juanita Watson of Faith Outreach Ministries, “The Faith Factory,” encourages people to use wisdom and to be aware of their surroundings if something feels off.

    “If you feel like there is presiding danger, then you follow your instinct, follow your gut,” said Watson.

    While Watson and Mosley Weems understand there may be some concern, they both believe this event is needed.

    “I do believe it’ll bring some joy. I believe that it will give us something to do to celebrate our heritage,” said Watson.

    Ward 5’s Juneteenth Festival is this Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. at Joy Park Community Center in Akron.

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