RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Juneteenth candlelight vigil at the Robert E. Lee Monument Friday night kicked off a weekend of events in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

On this day, back in 1865, June 19 marked the day that all enslaved African-Americans found out they were free. Federal troops took control of Texas, ending slavery in the United States

This Juneteenth, hundreds of people came together for a peaceful demonstration on Monument Avenue. Hosted by Petersburg native Trey Songz, the singer was vocal in his calls for change.

Trey Songz
Petersburg native Trey Songz holds a fist in the air at a Juneteenth candlelight vigil held at the Robert E. Lee statue on Friday, June 19, 2020. (Photo: Sierra Fox)

“We’re gonna tear injustice down,” he said. “We tired.”

He says the pain has been building up.

“I can’t sleep sometimes,” said Songz.

The message resonated with Richmond resident Kim Roberson.

“It felt great to hear a celebrity use their power for good and not just show their face because,” she said.

The candlelight vigil led to a march down Monument Avenue — each with a story to tell.

“I’m out here for my family,” one demonstrator said. “I was adopted from Russia into a black family. My mom and my sister aren’t able to come out here so I’m out here for one.”

Lavon Smithson and General Delbridge told 8News a Juneteenth celebration is what they’ve been waiting for and fighting for.

“We truly do matter, we’re better together,” Delbridge said.

“It’s exciting to see this is happening, honestly,” Smithson added. “It’s been a long time coming, we have a long ways to go, but have to start somewhere.”

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