Juneteenth celebrations kickoff in Houston this weekend!

District 1 City Council Member Ora Houston waves to spectators

Juneteenth is also celebrated around the world in places like Ghana, Japan and Trinidad and Tobago.

On this day in 1865, former slaves in Texas learned slavery had been abolished by President Abraham Lincoln two years earlier with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Long-time member and this year's Grand Marshal Latonya Charles said it's a way to get the community involved and to spread the importance of Juneteenth.

Organizers say they'll be focusing on educating everyone about what Juneteenth is and why the date is still significant over 150 years later. "They can see local entrepreneurs; and then, they can also see the kindness that people can show them in the community".

Blunt said Youth Challenge League Program has been volunteering at the Juneteenth celebration for the last six years. The celebration ran from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. and featured arts and crafts, a variety of food vendors, live music and dancing.

"We want to kids to be engaged, and each facilitator is in charge of telling a story", she said.

On June 19, 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston and read the Proclamation. This brings about a recognition of a struggle of a culture that had been oppressed for many, many years. "We broke down six workshops and each child is going to participate in three workshops".

The African American Museum of Iowa has been Juneteenth all weekend. This is me in my official Grand Marshal role for the Juneteenth Atlanta Parade!

"It's very important to influence people to not be violent because that's a very bad thing. You can look at the filament to the light bulb and the dust pan and the type writer and the golf tee and you can say thank you black America", said Roberts- Joseph.

The free event was sponsored locally by Wegmans, Chemung Canal Trust Company, Black Technology Network at Corning Incorporated, and Elmira Business Institute as well as by the NAACP.

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