Crowds gather to celebrate 2nd annual Juneteenth Family Reunion

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - “We represent Juneteenth in honor of our culture, in honor of our people and in honor of our ancestors.”

June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Texas were finally given their freedom. That came years after the Emancipation Proclamation and meant every African American in the United States was now free.

“To me, it means that we’re taking back our freedom. Our ancestors did this so we’re honoring their legacy,” said Jordan Bell, with Roanoke Cultural Collective.

Residents of all ages piled into Eureka Park for the special occasion, enjoying food, fun and games all around them.

“To me, Juneteenth is a big step for African Americans. We’re still fighting for freedoms but this is just a big step for us,” said Christian Burnette, with the Roanoke NAACP Youth Council.

Another big step for the black community is continuing to raise awareness for the holiday and what it means.

“I think more of our youth needs to know about it and celebrate it because it’s something that’s extremely important to Black people,” said Remi Davies, with the NAACP Youth Council.

“It’s important that we know our holidays, our culture, our history and we pass that down generation after generation so that people know throughout the country, throughout the state, throughout the City of Roanoke, why we’re celebrating Juneteenth,” said Bell.

A celebration it truly was, while organizers and attendees are keeping in mind that there is still work to do.

“It’s a lot of work that still needs to be done, but I think these types of festivals will help in that.”

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