Local Juneteenth Organizers React To Federal Holiday Designation

CHARLOTTE, NC – President Biden officially recognized Juneteenth as a national holiday on Thursday.

The bill signing ceremony comes a day ahead of the June 19th holiday that is recognized in 47 states.

“These are days when we as a nation have decided to stop and take stock,” said Vice President Kamala Harris in remarks during the signing ceremony.

“A Juneteenth of action on many fronts,” said President Joe Biden.

He called this an important moment in our nation’s history.

“All Americans can feel the power of this day and learn our history,” said Biden.

The ripple effect is likely to increase the visibility and educational opportunities of local events.

“On this Juneteenth I encourage all Americans to reflect on the long walk to freedom,” said U.S. Representative Alma Adams.

She called on individuals to come together on June 19th.

“Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom of our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Adams.

The new holiday was first celebrated in Galveston, Texas, to mark the anniversary of the day in 1865 that people received word of emancipation..

“Culture and heritage are the only directions that can help you move forward,” said Iaye Ndiaye.

He is the founder of the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas, which runs through the weekend.

“Our aim is not trying to recreate the past, but to share in the spirit of freedom and togetherness,” said Iaye.

He and others say the federal designation will ignite understanding, and push more people to learn the history of slavery in America and the progress needed moving forward.

“We’re going to always, always support history because we know we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. And that is the way that we roll,” said Ahmad Daniels, a Juneteenth organizer.