The June 19 celebration kicks off with a week of empowerment in Racine | Local News
ROOT — Lesia Hill-Driver had a vision for Juneteenth that was broader than just historical heritage and a day of barbecues.
“The idea was not only that we need to celebrate in this way, but we also need to educate and bring people together in the community and teach things that will make us a stronger people,” she said.
Hill-Driver is the supervisor of the John Bryant Community Center, the home of Racine’s Juneteenth, which will be celebrated with a week of events including classes in art, history, health and financial independence. There was a launch event on Saturday.
Hill-Driver said one of the quotes she stood on is, “The mind is the key that sets the captive free.”
The week was made possible by the formation of the June 10 Committee, which began meeting in February.
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Hill-Driver said the theme for the week was “We are stronger together”.
“As a unit, it can only get better,” she said of the events meant to bring the black community together. “We can only do more because we are united and moving forward together.”
Hill-Driver said the week-long event was historic – coming just a year after President Joe Biden signed legislation making June 19 a federal holiday – and encouraged everyone in the community to participate. at the celebration.
The first event of the week was the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk organized by the Sisters Network of Southeastern Wisconsin.
Keeshia T. Jones — herself a breast cancer survivor and president of the Sisters Network of Southeastern Wisconsin — organized the walk to raise awareness of the importance of monthly self-exams and annual mammograms.
“30-40 years ago, if you heard about breast cancer, it was a death sentence,” she said. “There are now so many treatment options that it doesn’t have to be, especially if caught early.”
“We do a lot for others in terms of our families, work and our church,” she said. “But to take care of our families, we have to take care of ourselves.”
Black women suffer from breast cancer at slightly lower rates than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, black women are dying from breast cancer at a 40% higher rate than white women.
Jones said there are health care disparities that contribute to that number. Black women tend to be diagnosed later, leading to the possibility of cancer metastasizing, a more difficult diagnosis that requires more intensive treatment needs, Jones said.
An article published in Hopkins-Bloomberg Public Health by Jenn Walton said the most serious health issue facing black women is “the system.”
Jones said if black women don’t ask the questions they have properly, their concerns are dismissed as if the issue isn’t important, and they won’t have that all-important early diagnosis.
She encouraged women to take action if something is wrong, reiterating that women know their own bodies.
“Don’t put it off any longer,” she said. “Make it a priority.”
Jones said the Sisters Network Inc. was thrilled to partner with the Juneteenth Day committee for a week of events aimed at empowering the black community.
Events to come
One of Racine’s main week of June 19 sponsors was JP Morgan Chase, which will be offering financial literacy classes this week.
Annette Washington of JP Morgan Chase is the community manager for Kenosha and Racine counties, who spoke with the Journal Times about the opportunities that will be provided to improve the community’s understanding of financial literacy.
She said based on the company’s commitment to racial equity, now is the time.
Washington said she was in the community when she “had the chance to meet Lesia,” who shared her vision for a broader June 19 celebration.
Washington said the classes were held in partnership with Divine 9, an African-American sorority, and will include a variety of issues ranging from workshops on buying a home to the dangers of predatory lenders, credit and principles. basics of money management.
She said some people will use slots for ATM cards and a variety of other money management needs because the location is convenient, but that convenience costs them a fee.
The courses will help people learn how to build their credit the right way so they are in a better position to buy a car or a house.
Classes can help people know their options.
The financial literacy course schedule can be viewed here: CityOfRacine.org/ParksRec/Events/Juneteenth
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