ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) Abilene’s annual Juneteenth celebration kicked off Friday, June, 19th at Stevenson Park.
June 19th, 1865 marks the day slaves in Texas learned they were free, two years after the emancipation proclamation was signed.
“There is no slavery anymore and it does matter a lot. Don’t have to go through that. I can’t imagine being back then, going through the days of slavery. I wouldn’t have made it,” says Neshemia White, who’s attending the celebration.
People are using the event as a way to carry on traditions and educate other generations.
“We’re here to uplift fallen humanity. I don’t want to leave that out because then the caucasian would think that we’re here to tear them down. No, we’re here to uplift them. When we wake up, the whole world will wake up,” says Eureka el Bey, also attending.
The organizers say the are using their knowledge and putting it into action.
“We are over here registering people to vote. Just giving them the information of when the deadlines are. We are also encouraging people to use their voice,” says Tanell Smith-Blackmon, overseeing the voter registration tent.
Mayor Anthony Williams shared a few words with the crowd.
“There are people in this community that don’t want us to work together. They are divisive and they say and do things that hurt the cause. I want to encourage us to be about us for us,” says the mayor.
The mayors message is a call to action for all generations and races.
“This is an opportunity for us to celebrate and really get some understanding for history but, it’s also an opportunity to put the unity back in community,” says Chris Daughtery, who organized the games and entertainment for the kids.
The organizers say none of this would have been possible without all donations from people in the community.