Local organizations prepare for Juneteenth celebrations

NOW: Local organizations prepare for Juneteenth celebrations

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- President Biden officially signed into law Thursday recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The day commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. and was unanimously passed by the Senate.

Many here in South Bend feel this is long overdue, but they say it’s just another step in the right direction for creating equal representation.

“Really it’s just pride it’s all about pride. About who I am and not being scared about what my color is," said Student, Tyrick Kamal.

Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1865 but for many Americans the reason behind the new federal holiday is unknown.

Here in South Bend many children aren’t taught in schools the meaning behind why the day is so important to the black community, but it’s something many parents are hoping to see change.

“We have a number of different Juneteenth events that are happening which just basically shows the growth as far as the awareness and really really shows the community and how they want to be more aware of the holiday as well too. Which now we can call it a holiday!," said Latorya Greene, Chapter President South Bend Chapter Indiana Black Expo.

After a year of racial injustice stemming from the murder of George Floyd, Greene says it’s exciting to finally feel represented not just in her community but on a national level.

“It really showed us that you know once we do come together and rally around some something unfortunately that had to happen. It gives me more of a sense of pride and more of a sense of really wanting that unification within the community," said Greene.

As many are still learning about the history behind the annual celebration, Tyrick Kamal says it’s great to see more awareness especially with the younger generation.

“I’ve seen some steps forward, but I’ve also seen some steps back. Personally, if we keep to making those steps forward I don’t have no issues. I’m actually happy where we are," said Kamal.

There will be celebrations at Howard park starting at 2 pm and at LaSalle park at 12 pm this Saturday.

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