The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Explained: $32 Million cut to UW System
Jackson Skarp, Student Government Reporter • September 28, 2023
The Pride Center: Home, family, and upcoming events
Sophie Miller, Social Justice Reporter • September 21, 2023
View All

La Crosse hosts third annual Juneteenth event at Riverside Park

Photo taken by Isabel Piarulli.

June 19, marks Juneteenth or Juneteenth National Independence Day, a day that celebrates the emancipation of the last group of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Juneteenth has recently been recognized as a federal holiday when in 2021 President Biden signed it into legislation.

As the United States officially celebrates the day for the third time, so does the City of La Crosse at Riverside Park. Presented by Black Student Leaders, B.L.A.C.K (Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge), Hope Restores and Enduring Families Project, the third annual Juneteenth celebration took place on Sunday, June 18 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event was ended early due to unsafe weather conditions.

The 2023 Youth Juneteenth Court was presented on the main stage during the event. Ten individuals ranging in age were recognized as members of the Court who will dance at the August Ball on Saturday, August 5, in the Bluffs Ballroom of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Student Union.

Local music artists and Hypnotist Chris Jones performed on the mainstage throughout the day. Circling the park were various booths held by organizations and businesses in La Crosse. Food, games, art, jewelry and much more could be found around Riverside for the better part of the afternoon.

2023 Juneteenth Court Member Jalesheah Simpson hosted her first booth at this year’s Juneteenth celebration, selling crochet animals through her business Crochet Pets. Though this was her first time hosting a booth she has been to all three Juneteenth celebrations at Riverside Park.

“The first two years I volunteered,” said Simpson. “I was at a program called Upward Bound through UWL and they wanted us to come down here and volunteer and it was amazing. We got to help out with different booths and vendors and little kid games. I love the environment here today.”

Simpson will be a freshman at Western Technical College in the fall. To her, this day is a day to celebrate her culture. “I love how there are so many different kinds of people here, it is so diverse. Anyone can be here; it’s not closed off to anybody. There is something here for literally everybody.”

UWL alum and hip-hop artist Protegé attended the celebration for the first time. “A lot of people that I went to school with still live up here and reached out to me, I am an artist and they reached out wondering if I wanted to come to the alma mater to perform. Of course, I happily obliged,” said Protegé.

Protegé prepared a 30-minute set that catered more towards fathers, as the 2023 Juneteenth celebration fell on Father’s Day. “Gonna do a little bit of everything,” said Protegé. “Bring a little bit of vibes to everyone here.”

When asked what about Juneteenth is important to him Protegé said everything. “Everybody getting together for a common cause,” he added. “Celebrating the same thing; Independence.”

North La Crosse resident Melissa Touche has attended all Juneteenth celebrations to happen at Riverside. She first heard about the event while being the social justice reporter for The Racquet Press, and this year worked the booth of her current employer Independent Living Resources.

“The recognition of what the United States literally stands for and what it was built on,” said Touche in response to why Juneteenth is important to her.

To learn more about Juneteenth and its history click here. To further celebrate and learn about black voices and stories in La Crosse connect with Black Student Leaders and B.L.A.C.K on Instagram and additional social media.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Isabel Piarulli, Executive Editor
Year at UWL: Junior PGPs: She/Her/Hers Hometown: Menasha, WI Major: Psychology and Political Science Minor: Communication Studies Other Campus Involvement: Student Association CASSH Senator, University Centers Admin Assistant, Psychology Club, Pre-Law Society member Future Plans after Graduation: Attend law school Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Visiting Pearl Street Books
Donate to The Racquet Press

Comments (0)

All The Racquet Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *