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St. Louis area groups celebrate with missions ahead of Juneteenth

An Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. chapter celebrated in the Delmar Loop and the Black Chief Officers Committee held a luncheon to support first responders downtown.

ST. LOUIS — Several groups across St. Louis will celebrate Juneteenth in their own way this weekend.

On Saturday, the beat of the drums echoed loudly in the Delmar Loop. They intertwined with the rhythm of African dance and tunes one might hear at the family cookout.

Pink and green met the colors of the Pan-African flag as Alpha Kappa Alpha's Omicron Eta Omega chapter took to the Market in the Loop a day ahead of Juneteenth to host their second annual community cookout.

The event was an opportunity for the chapter to celebrate but also educate people about the day when the last of four million enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas.

The sorority's inception was not too removed from modern slavery.

"Twenty like-minded young women on the campus of Howard University had an idea. They wanted to bring the Black community together and promote harmony and unity. We've been doing that since 1908," said Veronica Stacker, president of the chapter.

State and city leaders feast for a different kind of freedom at the Marriott St. Louis Grand hotel in downtown St. Louis.

The Black Chief Officer Committee of St Louis held its second annual Juneteenth Freedom Luncheon.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards scholarships to fund training and certification for aspiring emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, and 911 dispatchers.

St. Louis County Director of Security and Community Engagement Clay Farmer presented along with keynote speakers Rep. Cori Bush and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell.

Missouri has 35% less of the workforce needed when it comes to first responders. The national average sits at 25. Compensation, training time and the pandemic are factors.

"We're trying to bring attention to the fact that, 'Hey, these are great careers and you serve your community when you become a first responder,'" said Chief Quentin Randolph, the organization's president.

Both groups congregated for change and a better future.


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