MILWAUKEE — A crowd gathered on Milwaukee’s north side Tuesday, June 19th to celebrate “Juneteenth” — marking the end of slavery. Late-afternoon violence has tarnished previous Juneteenth festivals in Milwaukee. FOX6 News spoke with some adults Tuesday, who said they hope the city’s youth will appreciate the meaning behind “Juneteenth.”
“My grandmother used to tell us stories about when she was coming up about that time and I think ‘Oh my God, would I have been able to survive all they been through?” Tracey Booker said.
With an appreciation of history, Booker set up a small jewelry stand along Martin Luther King Drive on Tuesday. She said she was grateful for the opportunity to sell some of her materials for money — reflecting on a time when her ancestors were considered currency.
“We have come a long way,” Booker said.
Milwaukee’s Juneteenth celebration began Tuesday with a parade down Atkinson Avenue.
Over the past few years, there have been problems with violence — mainly groups of teens coming together to cause trouble as the festival wraps up.
“I think a lot of times, our young people are impulsive. Think before you make decisions that can impact your whole life,” one adult said.
“They should reflect back on all we’ve been through and take this opportunity to better themselves,” Booker said.
There were Milwaukee police officials monitoring the scene Tuesday. Police said by the festival’s end at 7 p.m. Tuesday, there were 54 arrests – 35 adults and 19 juveniles, most for disorderly conduct. Police also confiscated two handguns.