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Veterans Zone is a new addition at Juneteenth Parade this year

By Sarah McGrew,


A space dedicated to honoring and providing resources for veterans is new at this year's Juneteenth Parade in Milwaukee.

Andrew Calhoun III, a former Navy Chaplain, said the Veteran Zone is "a wonderful addition to the Juneteenth celebration. Because when you look at the history of America, you can see that African Americans have played a pivotal part in every single conflict, whether it was big, small, or whatever. African Americas have served whether they got recognition or not." TMJ4
Veteran Andrew Calhoun III

Army Veteran Shawn Owens is one of the people who will be at the Veteran Zone helping to connect fellow Black veterans with the resources they're entitled to.

"My mission with this Juneteenth is to get the Black veteran population to come in to see what benefits are there for them, to know that they have rights and different claims that are due to them and they need to get that so they can live more prosperous lives," Owns said. TMJ4
Army Veteran Shawn Owens

In November, Yale Law School's Veterans Legal Services Clinic filed a federal lawsuit that alleges the VA has administered disability benefits in a racially discriminatory way.

A 2017 internal Veterans Affairs report showed Black veterans were more often denied benefits for PTSD compared to their white counterparts.

Vietnam Veteran LaMarr Franklin has personal experience with that.

"We got treated like crap, to put it mildly," LaMarr responded when asked what it was like coming home after serving. "Went to the VA and got completely turned off. They treated us like dirt. So I stayed away from the VA for 20 years." TMJ4
Vietnam Veteran LaMarr Franklin

After two decades, he got a PTSD diagnosis.

"You don't know about it within yourself until somebody tells you about it," Franklin said.

Franklin believes Juneteenth is a great way to connect his fellow veterans with resources and to make sure they're recognized for their service.

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