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'It’s bigger than one day': Twin Cities dads, their children commemorate Juneteenth and Father’s Day

Several Juneteenth and Father's Day events are planned for this weekend, as both holidays fall on the same day this year.

MINNEAPOLIS — "For me, it's bigger than just one day, it's a lifestyle," said Charles Caine, founder of Brothers EMpowered and Honor Roll Athletics.

For Caine and his two sons, 13-year-old Judah and 17-year-old Savion, this Sunday is more than just a day to celebrate and honor dad.

"Father's Day is a lifestyle every day; we gotta make sure we appreciate him," said Savion. "A lot of people I know don't get an opportunity to have a father like that, and to be engaged with their father," he said.

"He takes care of me and my brother and takes care of us good," said Judah.

It's a chance to honor the past and those who paved the way for Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

On June 19, 1865, hundreds of thousands of slaves in Galveston, Texas learned they were free, two whole years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

"For me, it was finding out about it online, through research, looking it up," said Savion. "Remembering what they had to go through and the struggles that they had and just appreciating that."

Although celebrated in Black communities for generations, the national holiday takes on a new meaning. More than two years after George Floyd's murder led to a racial reckoning, the message is still spreading across the globe. 

"In the past couple of years, post George Floyd, a lot of people have been doing more studying about what it means," said Teto Wilson.

To Wilson, a community leader and owner of Wilson's Images in north Minneapolis, the history of Juneteenth wasn't something he learned in his younger years.

"That's not something we were taught in history growing up in school," said Wilson. 

Wilson is a father of four, who takes pride in passing down this history and his own legacy to his children.

"I have a son who's 30. I have three daughters, age 23, 22 and 16," he said. "I think about raising them and making sure they understand who they are and why they are here."

He's also a community leader who often gives back. "Black people were freed from slavery, but they haven't really been made whole," he said. "My job in this community is to further emancipate people from the impacts of slavery — housing insecurity, food insecurity, miseducation, lack of health care and underemployment."

"It's bigger than us three; there are other boys that are connected to us," said Charles.

On top of being a dad, Charles runs Honor Roll Athletics with his sons and Brothers EMpowered, providing mentorship and job opportunities for young people in north Minneapolis. 

He's building a village outside of his own.

"For me, I knew I was destined to be a great father, that was my goal, when I had my children, but I knew that my children will interact with other children," he said. "For me, it was about how can I influence the other kids connected to my children? Because if I don't influence them and they don't get the same service my children did, then I'm doing a disservice."

Now, he's looking toward the past and injustices still felt today, while building a positive future for his sons.

"It's amazing because these boys are what saved me from the streets, from a life of crime, from a life of addiction, so my purpose was to raise them up as big, strong Black men," said Charles.

"We gotta make sure we appreciate him every day," said Savion, "and the simple stuff that makes our lives so much better."

Caine and his sons are hosting a Juneteenth event at Mall of America's Community Commons space on June 18 from 1-4 p.m. to highlight Black-owned businesses. 

For information on more Juneteenth events happening this weekend, visit the link here

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