By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) — Hundreds gathered at Town Field in Dorchester to celebrate Juneteenth and a Black Lives Matter Rally through speeches, poetry reading, and exhibits Friday afternoon. It’s a day of remembrance, celebration, and freedom.

“All lives do not really matter until black lives matter,” Bishop William Dickerson said. “We should celebrate diversity, diversity is a good thing. We learn from each other, we learn from other cultures but we can not ignore the racism in our pasts and the current racism that exists now.”

Organizer Darren Well said these rallies need to be followed by action. “The number one reason why we are having this in our community is because a lot of people are not aware,” he said.

This year’s celebration comes amid national and local discussions about systemic racism and police brutality in America.

“We need to continue to have healthy conversations and the reality is this may be uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Wells said.

“Juneteenth is one of those holidays that doesn’t get celebrated much in schools. We’ve got Columbus Day but we don’t have Juneteenth ” said Artis Street from Dorchester.

A small group of counter-protests briefly interrupted the event, but it remained peaceful.

Paul Burton

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