What Juneteenth means to community leaders in Mid-Michigan

What Juneteenth means to community leaders in Mid-Michigan
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 11:51 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s the second year that many people got the day off to recognize Juneteenth.

Many people in Mid-Michigan had the opportunity to enjoy the day at home with their families. However, one local leader said the idea is to receive education, not to take the day off.

Attorney Vincent Green is the son of Robert L. Green, the first Black person to purchase a home in East Lansing, thanks to an Executive Order by President John F. Kennedy that prohibited discrimination in the sale or rental of a property. Green’s impact on social justice was so significant that Pinecrest Elementary School was renamed after him in September.

Vincent’s admiration for his father’s work plays a big part in his view on how people should observe Juneteenth.

“Well, with the King holiday, my dad really didn’t want people to have school off. They wanted to learn about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement,” Vincent Green said. “That’s what we want to see with Juneteenth. We’re already seeing the commercialization of all that. We want to make people understand what it’s all about.”

Related: Mural painted in East Lansing honors civil rights legend Dr. Robert Green

Kerrington Kelsey, with Black Lives Matter Lansing, believes Juneteenth is a start to social change. He said if people who aren’t of color want to show they are allies, sitting at home isn’t the way to do it.

“This is the one week for you to show up and show easily tangible things to support Black people who are creating things in their community,” Kelsey said.

Green said he had the chance to spend Juneteenth with his grandson, which helped him reflect on all the work his father and other Civil Rights activists have done to make life better for future generations.

Kelsey said Lansing has been celebrating Juneteenth for about three decades.


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