LOOK: Denver’s Juneteenth parade returns to Five Points

Missed the festivities? Fret not.

Jazoni Johnson leads the Platinum Diva's Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Jazoni Johnson leads the Platinum Diva's Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
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Denver’s Juneteenth parade took a break in 2020 – like a lot of things – but the emancipation celebration was back in Five Points and Whittier this weekend. While the Juneteenth Music Festival is the latest iteration of the event, the celebration is a tradition that dates back to the 1950s.

Quincy Shannon, Lindsey Haggerty and Erone Adams dance in the heart of Five Points as they represent Omega Psi Phi in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Quincy Shannon, Lindsey Haggerty and Erone Adams dance in the heart of Five Points as they represent Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
The Juneteenth Music Festival takes over Welton Street in Denver's Five Points Neighborhood. June 19, 2021.

The Juneteenth Music Festival takes over Welton Street in Denver's Five Points Neighborhood. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The celebration has long been a way to drive business toward Denver’s Black economy. Rapid Gentrification in Five Points means there aren’t a whole lot of Black-owned businesses left on Welton Street, and those that have persisted felt even more pressure during the pandemic. A lot of folks here were happy that vaccines rolled out in time to make the gathering safe to attend this year.

Bakary Dukary has tons of jewlery for sale at the Five Points Music Festival. June 19, 2021.

Bakary Dukary has tons of jewlery for sale at the Five Points Music Festival. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Cedric Cox and Michelle Harris greet Congressman Jason Crow as he marches in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Cedric Cox and Michelle Harris greet Congressman Jason Crow as he marches in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

There was also a new vibe attached to the events this year. President Joe Biden had just two days earlier signed a bill into law making Juneteenth an official federal holiday. Denver’s Black leaders hoped for decades that the day would become a staple of the nation’s collective consciousness. While the holiday designation was a symbolic win, many people still want to see the country take more substantive action towards racial justice.

“We need tangibles along with symbolic things. So I appreciate the effort,” Butterfly White, who marched with members of the Colorado Democratic Party, told Denverite. “But we need more.”

Butterfly White marches with the Colorado Democratic Party during Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Butterfly White marches with the Colorado Democratic Party during Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
The Queens & Kings of Dynasty Dance group performs in the heart of Five Points during Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

The Queens & Kings of Dynasty Dance group performs in the heart of Five Points during Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
James Richardson hangs out at the Juneteenth Music Festival. June 19, 2021.

James Richardson hangs out at the Juneteenth Music Festival. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Baby the dog hangs out with Andrew Wong at Denver's Juneteenth Music Festival. June 19, 2021.

Baby the dog hangs out with Andrew Wong at Denver's Juneteenth Music Festival. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kahdijah James marches with the
Carribbean Student Alliance in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kahdijah James marches with the Carribbean Student Alliance in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Lisa Gaylord with the Ideas theater group blows bubbles during Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Lisa Gaylord with the IDEAs theater group blows bubbles during Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Diana Gadison watches Denver's Juneteenth Parade with her grandkids,  Dustin and Layah. June 19, 2021.

Diana Gadison watches Denver's Juneteenth Parade with her grandkids, Dustin and Layah. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A panel discussion about race and the arts inside Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's theater on Juneteenth. June 19, 2021.

A panel discussion about race and the arts inside Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's theater on Juneteenth. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Cleo Parker Robinson speaks to the crowd attending a panel in her theater on Juneteenth. June 19, 2021.

Cleo Parker Robinson speaks to the crowd attending a panel in her theater on Juneteenth. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Malik Robinson sits in the wings of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's theater during a panel discussion on race and the arts on Juneteenth. June 19, 2021.

Malik Robinson sits in the wings of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's theater during a panel discussion on race and the arts on Juneteenth. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Evernard Jones smokes a pipe as he watches Denver's Juneteenth Parade from 26th Avenue. June 19, 2021.

Evernard Jones smokes a pipe as he watches Denver's Juneteenth Parade from 26th Avenue. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Eva Hall watches Denver's Juneteenth Parade from 26th Avenue. June 19, 2021.

Eva Hall watches Denver's Juneteenth Parade from 26th Avenue. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Edward J.A. Moore prepares to march in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Edward J.A. Moore prepares to march in Denver's Juneteenth Parade. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Marilyn Chipman, Ms. Colorado Senior 2021, embraces her son,
Michael, as Denver's Juneteenth Parade kicks off. June 19, 2021.

Marilyn Chipman, Ms. Colorado Senior 2021, embraces her son, Michael, as Denver's Juneteenth Parade kicks off. June 19, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

This story has been updated to clarify that Juneteenth celebrations began in Denver in the 1950s.

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