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Portsmouth's Juneteenth Celebration Includes Food, Music, and Conversations About Implicit Bias

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This Saturday, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will put on its annual Juneteenth Celebration.

Juneteenth marks the day when slaves in Texas heard they were free, almost two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

For JerriAnne Boggis, the executive director of the Black Heritage Trail, the holiday is time for both festivities and reflection.

There will be music, African drumming, a soul food lunch, and community dialogues around implicit bias in public spaces and policing.

Each year, the BHTNH chooses a theme to focus on for Juneteenth. Boggis pointed to current incidents of racial bias in public spaces, such as the two men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, as the motivation to have those conversations. 

"Once we start dialoguing around our past, we have a better chance of understanding how we got to be where we are around issues of race and disenfranchisement," Boggis said. 

There will be two community forums. One examines race in the criminal justice system, and another will discuss ties between social, economic and racial inequities. 

The day-long celebration begins at 10:30 at Portsmouth's Middle Street Baptist Church.

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