Southfield man hopes massive celebration will help spread Juneteenth message

‘This is an opportunity for us to break generational curses’

A Metro Detroit man made it his mission to educate others about Juneteenth, encouraging them to celebrate it and make those celebrations as large as Independence Day.
A Metro Detroit man made it his mission to educate others about Juneteenth, encouraging them to celebrate it and make those celebrations as large as Independence Day.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A Metro Detroit man made it his mission to educate others about Juneteenth, encouraging them to celebrate it and make those celebrations as large as Independence Day.

Related: Biden signs bill making Juneteenth 12th official US holiday

Shaun Dirden grew up never celebrating Juneteenth and now he wants to make sure his family never forgets and everyone can understand the importance of the day.

When Shaun and Nikki Dirden learned about Juneteenth about 10 years ago, they decided they wanted to celebrate it for their daughters. It started with a small BBQ and family members, but he felt so strongly about spreading the history of Juneteenth that he decided he wanted something bigger and took to social media.

The family said several hundred people and multiple food vendors took part in the first year.

This year, they have about 30 vendors in an event they call the Juneteenth Family Reunion, but it’s not just the Dirden family -- they invite everyone, regardless of race, to Catalpa Oaks Park in Southfield to celebrate.

The Dirdens said celebrating Juneteenth is especially important for their two young daughters who haven’t learned the history in school.

More information can be found on the Juneteenth Family Reunion’s official website here.

Related:


About the Authors:

Kimberly Gill joined the Local 4 News team in November 2014. She was named Personality of the Year in 2009 by the Ohio Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. She’s also a two-time Emmy winner.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.