June 16, 2008

Cops bust up Juneteenth parade in Omaha

North Omaha: Guns, God, Cash, Big Red
click and go figure
Yesterday was Juneteenth, a celebration of the abolition of slavery. The 'world-wide' emancipation celebration isn't an official holiday in Nebraska, but the local chapter of the NAACP traditionally has a parade in North Omaha. The neighborhood also marks the day with other related cultural and ethnic events, like shootings, car chases and brawls.

This year's observance was no different. From the Omaha World Herald:
The annual Juneteenth parade in north Omaha ended early Saturday when an 18-year-old man was shot near 22th and Lothrop Streets.

Police halted the parade after the 11:14 a.m. shooting near Lothrop Magnet Center, said Tommie Wilson, president of the Omaha chapter of the NAACP.
The NAACP sponsored the parade, which began at 10 a.m. at 24th and Hamilton Streets. The parade route was along North 24th Street, with Miller Park as the destination. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.

Wilson said she was upset that police stopped the parade. She said only 37 of 72 parade entries made it along the route before it ended.

"People missed all of that wonderful parade," Wilson said. "The cops need to, instead of stopping the parade, move the perpetrators."

It was the second time in three years that a Juneteenth event in Omaha ended prematurely. Organizers shut down a Juneteenth festival two years ago when fights broke out.

Wilson said Juneteenth isn't the problem; it's violence in the city. "This stuff is happening every day — we just happened to have a parade," she said.
The theme of the interrupted parade in North Omaha was a bit confusing: "History is NOW: Diversity through UNITY!" I'm sure there is some deep meaning in there somewhere, but I can't figure it out.
Did you know that much of Omaha is now available in Google's very intimate Street Views. Click here, then click "Street View" to tour North Omaha without any risk of getting mugged, stabbed or shot. Here is a screen shot of 24th and Lake as it appears on Google Maps Street View.

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