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Local event organizers prepare for Juneteenth: ‘Be out celebrating any way you can’

WRDW Interview

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Aiken County leaders are expected to talk tonight about recognizing June 19th as Juneteenth in the county. Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day and celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. Local groups are preparing for celebrations this weekend.

There are celebrations happening all around the CSRA this weekend. Each event will have live music, guest speakers, vendors, food and more. We spoke with one organizer of the event in downtown Augusta about how they hope to make a difference.

Juneteenth isn’t a new day, but one with a renewed special meaning.

Johnny Gregory is the President of the Band of Brothers. For him, this isn’t just a celebration but education.

“We came together for the sole purpose of making everybody aware of Juneteenth,” said Gregory.

The holiday remembers when the last of the slaves learned they were free.

“This Fourth of July, we weren’t free, so for the last slaves to be freed in 1865, it means freedom for us all. So being that that’s when the last slaves were free, we were all free. And that’s the day we celebrate,” said Gregory.

And the celebration grows, the first year they saw around 500 guests by the third 1,200, this year they hope for 1,500.

“We hope we want even more. We want the whole city. We will love for everybody,” said Gregory.

“Be out celebrating any way you can,” said Herman King, Parliamentarian of the Band of Brothers of Augusta.

The Band of Brothers say they hope to bring the community together. Strengthening their relationships and helping each other grow.

Gregory says even though he wishes everyone could come together to celebrate at one giant event, he hopes that everyone finds somewhere to go to celebrate even if it’s in their backyard.