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‘We are the culture’: Community leaders prepare for Juneteenth

‘We are the culture’: Community leaders prepare for Juneteenth

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Juneteenth has been around for years, but recently people started to learn more about its importance.

2021 was the first time the U.S. celebrated it as a national holiday, but because of COVID, events didn’t get the crowds they’re expecting this year.

We spoke with organizers who hope to bring the history and fun to families this time around.

Johnny Gregory is the president of Band of Brothers, and this year they held a program at Augusta Tech to teach people more about the holiday.

“Juneteenth is basically our fourth of July,’ he said.

June 19th, 1865. The day enslaved Black Americans in Texas finally learned about their freedom.

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“This is our day to celebrate us. Our freedom since we were not actually free for the 4th of July,” said Gregory.

Cornell Scales, financial aid for Augusta Tech said: “Learning about your history, learning where you come from, where you are at, and where you can potentially go.”

Morris Porter and those involved in the National Action Network say Juneteenth means more to them than just another holiday.

“The true day that African Americans in America actually became freed, and we wanted to heighten the awareness of that,” he said.

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Francine Scott, commissioner for District 9 said: Juneteenth will be awareness to our young brothers and sisters on what we need to do, how we need to be engaged in the community and keep our community safe.”

Others say Juneteenth is about remembering the past and celebrating their freedom.

Tamika Bean, Ladies First Motorcycle Club, president said: “It shows our ancestors held on and the sacrifices and the unity they had to work together to overcome.”

Scales said: “Black is beautiful. It’s powerful, and we are the culture.”