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Cleveland Juneteenth Celebration Focuses On Voting, Census Participation

photo of Danielle Sydnor
Danielle Sydnor, president of the Cleveland NAACP, urged the crowd in Art & Soul Park to participate in the census -- and to also find five friends and have them complete it, too.

Juneteenth celebrations continued over the weekend as marchers took to the streets in Cleveland -- both to mark the end of slavery in America and to look for ways to address the challenges facing people of color.

Cleveland NAACP President Danielle Sydnor helped organize the march on Saturday through the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood. At the end of the march, neighborhood vendors had set up booths alongside tables with information on how to register to vote.

“In order for us to have true freedom in a Democracy, you have to have a civically engaged population. Voting is a very important tool in activating change that we want to see.”

Billy Sharp, President of the Urban League Guild, agrees.

“We have to evolve with the times -- we are dealing with COVID-19, we realize how important that is – so we’re encouraging everyone to early vote.”

Sharp adds that voting and completing the census are imperative for bringing about change in Cleveland.

At the Art & Soul Park, Dave Nader from the Cuyahoga County Complete Count Committee was among those on-hand. He says much of the region is under-counted in every census.

“Being counted isn’t just some abstract thing. It’s about your representation in Congress. The hunger center in the neighborhood. The Headstart place near you. All of that in your daily life is determined by the census.”

Going forward, organizers of the march asked people in the crowd to find five people they know and urge them to complete the census as well.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. While a Kent State student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.