By JAMIE STENGLE & CHEYANNE MUMPHREY, Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) – After Opel Lee led hundreds in her Texas hometown to celebrate Juventus this weekend, a 95-year-old black woman who helped push for a nationally recognized holiday successfully said people need to learn history. Behind it
“We need to know that people can recover from this and never let it happen again,” said Lee, whose 2 1/2-mile (4-kilometer) walk from Fort Worth symbolizes the 2 1/2 years following President Abraham. . Lincoln’s Declaration of Liberation puts an end to slavery in the southern states to free Texas slaves.
One year after President Joe Biden signed into law the nation’s 12th federal holiday on June 19, people from all over the United States gathered at events filled with music, food, and fireworks. The festivities focused on learning about history and addressing racial inequalities. Many black people celebrate the day as they did before any formal recognition.
Junithith, also known as Independence Day, commemorates the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to order the release of the state’s slave people – two months after the Confederacy surrendered in the Civil War.
“Great nations do not ignore their most painful moments,” Biden said in a statement Sunday. “They struggle to be strong. And that’s what this great nation must do. “
The Gallup poll found that Americans are more familiar with Juventus than they were last year, with 59% saying they knew “too much” or “something” about the holiday, up from 37% a year earlier in May. The survey also found that support for making juntith part of school history lessons increased from 49% to 63%.
However, many states have been slow to declare it an official holiday. Lawmakers from Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and elsewhere have failed to move forward with proposals this year that would have allowed state offices to close and pay most of their public servants.
The festivities in Texas were created by a group of ex-slave men who bought land in Houston Park 150 years ago. At times, it was the only public park available to the black community, according to the conservation website.
“They wanted a place where they could not only celebrate, but also do other things throughout the year as a community,” said Jacqueline Bostic, vice president of the board for Emmanuel Park Conservancy and one of her grandchildren. The founder of the park, Rev. Jack Yates.
This weekend’s festivities included performances by The Isley Brothers and Cool & The Gang. In the weeks leading up to the junta, Park hosted discussions on topics ranging from healthcare to policing to the role of green spaces.
Among the participants was Filonis Floyd, the first African-American to serve as director of the National Parks Service and brother of Robert Stanton and George Floyd, who grew up in a historic black neighborhood in the park and was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. Protests erupted around the world two years ago.
As more and more people learn about Juventus, “we want to use it and use this moment as a tool to educate people about not only history and African American history, but American history,” said Ramon Manning, chairman of the board of Conservancy Park Conservancy.
At Fort Worth, the festivities included Bill Pickett’s inviting rodeo, named after the Black Cowboys known as Bulldogs, or Steer Wrestling. Rodio’s president and CEO, Valeria Howard Cunningham, said the kids are often surprised to find real black cowboys and cow girls.
Many young people are involved in planning the Juventus events, said Torina Harris, program director at the New Cultural Center in Galveston, the birthplace of the holiday.
Juventus offers the opportunity to reflect on “different practices or norms that contradict the values of freedom” and to consider how to challenge those things, Harris said.
From Los Angeles to Chicago to Miami, some major city festivals not only touched on the history of American slavery, but also black culture, trade, and food.
In Phoenix, hundreds of people gathered for the annual event at Eastlake Park, the epicenter of civil rights in Arizona. Recently crowned Miss Juntinth Arizona used her platform to talk about how she felt empowered during state competitions, part of a nationwide competition that showcases and celebrates the educational and artistic achievements of black women.
It’s a “sisterhood building moment, it’s not about competing with each other for the crown, it’s about celebrating the intelligence of black women and being true to yourself,” said Shandria Norman, 17, whose family is from Texas and grew up knowing about Junitith. .
Kendall McCullen, 15-year-old Miss Junetith Arizona, said the holiday was about fighting for social justice.
“We have to fight twice for the same freedom that our forefathers fought for hundreds of years ago,” she said. “It’s important that we continue to fight for my generation, and it’s important to remember how far we’ve come this day.”
The event featured speeches by politicians from Kawambe-Omova on African drum and dance and how residents can get involved in local politics as children found balloon animals and ran to the playground in Eastlake Park.
In New York City, Juntinth was celebrated in its five boroughs, with events attracting more crowds than organizers expected. In central Brooklyn, more than 7,000 people attended the Saturday and Sunday food festival hosted by black-owned Brooklyn, a digital publication and directory of local black businesses.
Although Junithith is a black American holiday, festival organizers say they are aware of the cuisine and flavors of Caribbean and West African countries. On Sundays, long lines formed from almost every food stall, while a DJ played emotional house music for festive costume participants.
“The idea of celebrating Juntinth around our food culture is especially significant here in Brooklyn, where we have a large population of black people from around the world,” said Tao Giva, co-creator of black-owned Brooklyn.
“By paying tribute to it through our shared connection to the (African) Diaspora, it is truly powerful,” he said.
The event was held at the Weeksville Heritage Center, one of the largest black communities for liberation before the Civil War. Participants were given guided tours of the grounds, including historic houses and other structures that were once inhabited by the community’s founders.
“For a day about salvation, it means gathering people on this land and feeding each other not only food but also soul and spirit, emotion and love,” said Isa Saldana, Weeksville Heritage’s Program and Partnership Manager. Center
“The big part of (Junetith) is learning to be free and feeling good about it,” she said.
Jeffrey Haveley Sr. attended the celebration with his three children on Sunday, which was also Father’s Day. A native of Staten Island, New York, he said he was hopeful that Junitith’s federalism would raise awareness of the black American story in America.
“As each of us grows, we need to grow in awareness that we’ve been suffering for a very long time, much longer than they’ve been told,” Haveley said. “It is our duty to our forefathers that we should educate and better ourselves within this country, because this country owes us a lot.”
Kimberly Crucie, an Associated Press writer in Nashville, Tennessee, and Aaron Morrison of New York City contributed to this report. Mumfrey reports from Phoenix and is a member of the Associated Press’ Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on https://twitter.com/cheymumph.
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