Lawrence Juneteenth organization plans virtual event

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With uncertainty surrounding the situation with COVID-19 and health regulations — but also with certainty that they’d have plenty more than 50 people in attendance — the Lawrence, KS Juneteenth Organization planned a virtual celebration this year. 

“We want to make sure that everyone is able to attend and learn,” Janine Colter said. 

Colter, president of the organization, said the event will include oral histories, music, poetry, and a history of the two Lincoln schools, which were all-Black schools in Lawrence. 

The event will also honor Ursula Minor, president of the Lawrence chapter of the NAACP, and Pastor Leo Barbee Jr., of Victory Bible Church, for their service to the community. 

Events also include an essay contest on the theme of “Good Trouble,” in honor of the late United States congressman from Georgia and civil rights pioneer John Lewis.

Colter said 16 high schoolers submitted essays, and they’re “tearjerkers.” The committee selected first-, second- and third-place winning essays.

“They are aware, and they want to see changes,” Colter said of the teen essay writers.  

She said the committee wants to share the rich Black history that helped shape America, right here in Lawrence and Douglas County. 

The event will start at 1 p.m. Saturday on Facebook. Follow the Lawrence, KS Juneteenth group for updates and to catch the event live. There’s also more information on the organization’s website,

“However people celebrate this year, we ask that they be safe,” Colter said. “We want to put that out there … it needs to be celebrated; please be safe.” 

Trinity Carpenter has also planned an in-person event to celebrate Juneteenth. Read more about that here.

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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