Fresno African American groups honor Juneteenth, speak out against racial injustice

Members from African American groups in Fresno will speak Friday morning to honor the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and call for racial justice and equity in the city.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Members from African American groups in Fresno will speak Friday morning to honor the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and call for racial justice and equity in the city.

One by one, a united voice outside a southwest Fresno neighborhood youth center asked for change, change on a day usually set aside to mark the positive end of a dark era.

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Local black leaders said progress needs to continue, 155 years after the final end to slavery in the United States.

"Not only do we need equity in our justice system, but we need equity in our jobs, we need equity in our housing, we need equity in our educational system," said Fresno Unified School Board President Keshia Thomas.

Speakers, each given less than a minute to share a message, said the time is now - to seize the moment and start conversations followed up by action to end prejudice and racism.

"We stand here today proud to say that we refuse to be trumped by politics and pain any longer. We will create change in West Fresno to dismantle the tail of two cities. We have said 'we can't breathe' long enough," said DJ Criner with the St. Rest Community Development Corporation.

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Barigye McCoy is a board member at the African American Cultural Museum. He said tough conversations are a starting point followed up by some type of legislation.

"We need to bring all parties together, regardless of their place in the community and we need to hear them all out and then we need to come up with a strategic plan," said McCoy.

African American leaders said they hope that this Juneteenth means more than remembering and celebrating the past, that it puts a spotlight on the work still to be done nationally and in the community.
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