BRYAN, TX — Juneteenth pays tribute to the day the last slaves in Texas were freed.
It was initially only acknowledged as a holiday in the lone star state. Over the years it has grasped the attention of people across the nation.
This year's celebration of Juneteenth will feel different.
For the first time in American history, Juneteenth will be considered a federal holiday. President Biden signed the legislative bill making it effective immediately.
Now locals are preparing to make this day even more special.
For Chelita Johnson, keeping company these days mainly looks like those with a smaller stature.
"It’s just a fun and exciting time,” said Chelita Johnson, city of College Station Lincoln recreation center supervisor.
She finds joy in developing and sharing history with her kiddos.
“To reflect and remember the sacrifices that others have made for us" she added.
So, this year, just two days after congress signed a bill to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday...
Community leaders say it's an opportunity to link gaps of the past to present time.
“To identify June nineteenth as a day of freedom,” said Harold Eaton, the Brazos Valley African American Heritage, and Culture Society president.
This year, the Brazos Valley is pulling out all the stops this holiday.
But the goal goes beyond the bold-colored flags and exuberant parades.
“If we fail to recall the past, we’re destined to repeat it,” added Eaton.
For the past 16 years, the Lincoln Center has partnered with the George H.W Bush Library and Museum hosting a 2.2-mile freedom walk.
The pandemic forced some changes to continue the celebration. This year, the rec center will hold the freedom walk with the children attending summer camp.
“To teach the kids about Juneteenth what does it entail,” said Johnson.
A mission that will always be important for Chelita. Hoping her lessons at the rec center spills over to the lessons of life.
”We can now have the same education as other people we can be in the same building as other people and just don’t forget, never forget,” Johnson shared.
Other events similar to the freedom walk are taking place this weekend include the Brazos Valley African American heritage and culture society hosting a parade beginning at 10 am starting at the old carver school and ending at the Sadie Thomas memorial park.
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