A weekend of Juneteenth festivities kicked off on Friday evening with an intimate and poetic celebration nestled away in a sunset-lit Centennial Park. Members of the community and Black Lawrence gathered to rejoice in the release of “Beautiful Ashe,” a book by author Tai Amri Spann-Ryan.

Because this event was heavy in the spirit of collaboration, the author invited other notable artists to come take part, including poet Mercedes Lucero, loop artist Barry Washboard Barnes, and nightingale-voiced singer Cia Michelle. This is one of three events happening this weekend. Other events include a virtual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., and a Juneteenth BBQ and party at Watson Park on Saturday from noon to 9:00 p.m.

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Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 15 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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