ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) Juneteenth is just one day away and the organizers of Abilene’s local celebration are working on the final touches.
“Slaves didn’t know they were free until June 19, 1865,” says Shawnte Fleming, one of the organizers of the celebration.
Organizers say the Juneteenth holiday is a big celebration in Texas because it marks the day slaves in Texas learned they were free, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation.
“A lot of people will say ‘what is Juneteenth’ because they’re not from here and it’s just something that we do here. It just like a family barbeque. We want to get together and celebrate freedom,” says Fleming.
Fleming says she’s carrying on that tradition as one of the organizers of the Juneteenth celebration here in Abilene.
“I want people to come out here and see Stevenson park is not a bad place to be. You can bring your kids, you can bring your grandkids out. Everybody can have a good time, I want it to be something for everybody,” says Fleming.
With the current social climate, the organizers say it’s a time to uplift one another.
“Promote each other. Cheer each other on. It doesn’t always have to be something negative. We ain’t hating on each other. there’s not negativity. Come out here and build each other up. Put your best outfit on and let’s have fun,” says Kisha Jackson.
Jackson is also helping to organize fashion show for the event.
“We do all kinds of things with our hair, we rock all different colors. Lets put this on display. We are a group of unique people and I want to share that,” says Jackson.
They are encouraging everyone to come out regardless of race or religion.
“Just have a good time like we’re family, we’re pulling up to the family barbeque. This is for everybody and this is just not for our community, this is for everybody. I don’t care what you do, what you look like, who you are,” says Jackson.
The food, tents, and entertainment have all been donated by different people and groups within the community.
The three-day event will wrap up Sunday evening.
The organizers say there will be hand washing stations and hand sanitizers.
They also have some masks that were donated and they are encouraging people to practice social distancing, as best they can.