Abilene celebrates Juneteenth for the first time as a federal holiday

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — “We are team Abilene, and we make this city great.”  

The Let Us Breathe organization and the Abilene police lead the people of the Key City into Stevenson Park for a full day of this nation’s newest federal holiday, Juneteenth. 

Food, music, and dancing; all in celebration of the date June 19th, 1865. A day the last enslaved African Americans in Galveston Texas were finally told that the Civil War had ended and that they were free. 

“It matters less how the holiday was derived. “It matters more that we use this holiday to heal and celebrate how far we have come and that we realize how strong we are and how much more we can accomplish together,” says Chief Marcus Dudley Jr.  

Chief Dudley tells us that he’s struggled with understanding why we celebrate this holiday, but because of the Abilene community, he now knows.   

“Abilene, I thank you, I thank you for teaching your police chief how to celebrate this Juneteenth holiday. I am appreciative and I know our officers are appreciative.” 

Mayor Anthony Williams believes that it’s important for us to live by the expectation that every man and woman are created equally, no matter their race.  

“This country is not good enough for any of us unless it’s good enough for all of us,” says Mayor Williams. 

And with Independence Day just only 15 days away, Mayor Williams says July 4th reminds us of freedom in our nation but, “Juneteenth reminds us that we never truly have freedom unless every one of us truly have freedom.” 

Mayor Williams also says he plans to have a conversation with the city, to make Juneteenth a city-recognized holiday.   

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