AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) – Saturday is Juneteenth and this is the first to happen as an official federal holiday. One way to celebrate and commemorate this year is by supporting black-owned businesses and restaurants.
FOX54 talked to local community leaders to reflect on the true meaning of freedom. Local women’s boutique owner Sonja Burns said it’s an exciting moment and something she’s worked hard for. “One of my teachers told me that I was going to be a nobody. I wasn’t going to do this and I wasn’t going to do that,” Despite adversity, Burns, better known as “Mocha” followed her dreams of becoming a business owner.
“I took that and I ran with it,” she said. Some would say she let her haters become her motivators. “I was so happy to tell her that I own my own business.”
She said Juneteenth is important to her. Each year she loads up her shop to-go, selling her brand of designs at local festivals. “They call me the pop-up queen because if they call me, they know I’m going to come,” Burns said.
It’s a way to show others the hard work she puts into her business and how she goes after every opportunity that comes her way. She said by signing the bill to make Juneteenth a holiday, President Joe Biden is giving his recognition. “I thank him for that bill because it’s going to take us a little higher,” she said.
But change starts at home and Burns said it’s because of the black community leaders this change has become possible. “When you don’t have nobody powerful in the community, I mean, what’s going to happen to our generation?”
Specifically naming community activist Ray Montana for being a powerful leader in the community. “The togetherness and the unity within our community coming together collectively supporting each other’s initiatives, pop-up boutiques everywhere, I mean, I’m excited!” Montana said. It’s a very important moment to pause and reflect on both freedom and enslavement in this nation he said.
“Because if you don’t know, people can tell you anything and you’ll fall for anything and that’s not what they’re going to do to Mocha,” Mocha said.
If you’re looking to celebrate Juneteenth this there are plenty of events going on in the CSRA – find a list here.