Big celebration planned in Northeast Ohio for Juneteenth

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CHARDON, Ohio (WJW)– On June 19th, the lawn at the Mayfield Drive-In in Chardon is expected to be packed with cars for Juneteenth, a state-recognized holiday.

“It’s a day that just celebrates you know our freedom and liberation you know as the African American Community,” said LaRese Purnell, founder of The Real Black Friday.
A live band and DJ will greet people at the already sold-out, free event.
Along with music, Friday’s features include food and ice cream trucks, fireworks and the screening of two movies.

LaRese Purnell, founder of The Real Black Friday.

The first film, “Just Mercy,” is a legal drama based on the life of attorney and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson.

“It’s relevant to as we talk about the protests going on, what you know African Americans are dealing with by the way of police brutality,” said Purnell who picked the movie to also provide historic education to the evening. “I’m encouraging people to fill their cars with their teenager, their young kids, bring your family members out so that after this movie it just ignites that conversation.”

After a fireworks display, The Marvel Cinematic Universe film, “Black Panther,” will be shown. It features a predominantly black cast.

“It allows the youth to see that you really can be anything. Like you are the hero within the story, you’re not the villain.”

Sold out in about an hour and 4 minutes, Purnell said he wants it to feel like a family reunion.
“We want people to leave with a smile on their face feeling just joy and feeling like hey, man we were celebrated, we celebrated our culture in a major way that day.”

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