Aurora city, police sponsoring Juneteenth celebration June 19 at Town Center of Aurora mall

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Editor’s note: this article has been updated to correct the date of the event.

AURORA | Aurora Police and the City of Aurora will host a free Juneteenth celebration Saturday, June 19 featuring live entertainment from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Town Center of Aurora.

The celebration will have exhibits from different community organizations and public services and crafts and activities for kids, according to a press release from the city. Mayor Mike Coffman will give a Juneteenth proclamation and Aurora NAACP president Omar Montgomery will present on the history of the holiday.

Juneteenth celebrates the June 19, 1865 order freeing all remaining enslaved people in Texas during the Civil War. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawing slavery three years earlier, Texas was one of the last states where it was enforced due to its location on the outskirts of the Confederacy. Over the years, the day became a celebration of Black freedom and heritage among African Americans in the South and across the country.

The event will feature live entertainment, including a guitar performance from Las Vegas singer Toney Rocks, several rap performances and a youth dance performance by King Solo.

Along with the city, the event is being cosponsored by the Aurora Police Department, the Town Center and volunteer group Responding to Aurora’s Critical Topics, or ReACT.

“Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and an opportunity to promote an inclusive community,” said Claudine McDonald, head of the police department’s Community Relations division. “When a community member brought the idea for this event to our ReACT group, we knew this fit right in with Chief Wilson’s ‘New Way’ plan to elevate community voices and show our commitment to a collaborative and community-based future.”

Mall officials said their venue is a good fit for the event.

“Town Center at Aurora is honored to partner with the City of Aurora to provide a free event in celebration of Juneteenth,” Town Center at Aurora manager Joel Boyd said in the release. “We invite the community to join us as we work to create an equitable future for all based on empathy, love and respect.”

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