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Health, Wellness Highlight Juneteenth Celebrations in Twin Cities

Want to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday? Here's where you can do that
Want to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday? Here's where you can do that 06:23

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — As Juneteenth celebrations finished last-minute preparations Saturday, a relatively new type of movement was already underway in Golden Valley.

For the second year, and with double the crowd, people celebrating Juneteenth ran. Some, just a half mile – others, a 5k. Either way, it was a step forward in many ways.

"The mission was just for people to show up," said Deanna Perkins, who helped the Loppet Foundation organize the run. "It's about bringing the community together to celebrate Juneteenth, celebrating freedom, celebrating community and togetherness and being active together."

It's fitting, Perkins says, that Saturday's events began with an emphasis on being active. Prior to the first race, she and other organizers honored Beverly Propes – a public health nurse whose constant work to keep Black Minnesotans healthy helped
shape a generation.

"For me, it's kind of like giving back to the community by lifting someone up in the community while they're still alive here," Perkins said. "And maybe inspiring others to take over."

Propes reminisced on Minneapolis' first Juneteenth celebration in 2007 – which already had set its goals on improving health and wellness.

"We had a huge health tent," Propes said. "At that tent, we had every health provider that was trying to reach out to this community had tables and shared what they could do to make sure people in this community were healthy. "

At the 'We are the Noise' Juneteenth event Saturday, University of Minnesota doctors worked to keep that tradition alive.

"Trying to do outreach at events like this is great, as a way to allow people to come meet us," said Dr. Aarabhi Rajagopal, a Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellow at the U of M. "It allows people who come from backgrounds of color to see that there are people like them that are within medicine, that these goals are achievable."

"We need health and wellness just to be ok," Perkins said. "Just to be ok to deal with life, to move on, we talked about Juneteenth is about celebrating freedom. How can you celebrate freedom without being healthy?"  

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