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Community Voices Share What Juneteenth Means To Them--Especially This Year

Charles Wilson
Charles Wilson

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the United States and has been declared a day of celebration in Michigan by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

WEMU's Lisa Barry has been sharing what several local African Americans in Washtenaw County think about the day or how they may be celebrating.  In this edition, we hear from Charles Wilson, who works for the Washtenaw County Health Department and supervises the community health promotion division.

Juneteenth has not typically been a day of celebration for Charles Wilson.  Although, he's always sure to acknowledge it.  Yet, with this year's racially-charged events, such as the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, Wilson wants to take the day more seriously.

Wilson plans to engage more on Juneteenth.  For instance, he wants a share a special meal with his family and listen more to his three daughters, all of whom are young adults with a very specific view on past events.  In fact, his youngest daughter is looking for ways to better protect herself, which sounded disturbing to Wilson's wife.

Wilson believes that community relations can improve if white people can talk to other white people about race.  He says if race is something that's been "constructed," it can certainly be "deconstructed."

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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