Rochester In Focus: Juneteenth 5K raising money for Rochester Civil Rights Heritage Site

Emily Putnam
Created: June 07, 2020 10:00 AM

Juneteenth Celebration Day marks the end of slavery in the United States, yet many people are unaware of the significance of the important date.

"June 19th, 1865 was when General Gordon Granger rode out to Galveston, TX with 2,000 union soldiers and demanded the freedom of the enslaved people," says Gloria Johnson-Hovey. She's the director of the Roc Juneteenth 5K race, which is now in its fourth year. 


The Black Lives Matter movement and the protests occurring across the country have solidified the importance of celebrating this date. 

"I'd like to speak particularly to Ahmaud Arbery, considering we're starting a run, getting prepared to run, and this young man was running, walking, whatever he was doing he was just doing it, and it was actually nobody's business what he was doing. And as a Black person, we're everybody's business. Everybody believes that they have the right to know why we are doing what it is we're doing, and that's just not the case. We don't have to answer to anybody," Johnson-Hovey says. "To me, it felt like a lynching in broad daylight."

Each year the Roc Juneteenth 5K has a different theme, and this year they're honoring Harriet Tubman as part of their theme. You can walk or run the race at your own pace, any time between now and June 19th. It's happening virtually this year so runners can maintain social distancing, and organizers are already seeing record-breaking participation from the community. 

Registration is $10 per person, and proceeds will go toward building a Civil Rights Heritage site here in Rochester. Click here to register

Johnson-Hovey asks "If one person is free, is it okay that another person is not? We as a country, we have to decide that."

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