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.”

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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.

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“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.

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

Paul Burton