Tiana Carruthers

Earlene McMichael / WMUK

Every year, we celebrate our independence from Great Britain on the Fourth of July. But did you know that, in most states, there’s another independence day that some people also celebrate? It’s called Juneteenth, a 150-year-old African-American tradition that’s very much alive in Kalamazoo. But if Juneteenth has been around for 150 years, why haven’t more people heard of it?


A recent image of Kalamazoo shooting Tiana Carruthers, projected on a screen at Borgess Medical Center. (Edited for clarity)
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

A longtime educational organization will honor Kalamazoo shooting survivor Tiana Carruthers this Sunday. For almost two decades, Ujima Enterprises Incorporated has given awards to outstanding community members during its Juneteenth celebration of African-American history. Carruthers, who was the first of eight people that a gunman shot in February, has made national headlines for protecting her 7-year-old daughter and other children. She told them to run from the Richland Township playground they were in when she saw the gun.