Williamsport celebrates Juneteenth as it becomes an official national holiday

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — Today is the first year in our country’s history where Juneteenth is officially recognized as a national holiday. A local NAACP chapter had an all-day event to celebrate.

Williamsport had Juneteenth celebrations in the past, but none quite like this. Earlier this week President Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday, making this year’s event even more special.

It was organized by the Lycoming Tri-County NAACP, the community zone and local businesses. Residents enjoyed food, dancing, speeches and several black-owned vendors, all while coming together to remember our country’s past.

“It tells about our heritage, it symbolizes that we’re free, it symbolizes that this country was built on our backs. And that’s why it’s important,” said Kelly Anderson the treasurer of Lycoming tri-county NAACP.

“I’m just glad to see people of all races and religions here. It makes me very happy to see everyone coming together,” said Rebecca Brocious.

Juneteenth commemorates the day that ended slavery in the united states back in 1865. Mayor Derek Slaughter says it’s on us as a community to keep this historic memory alive.

“You know we’re just hoping that we can continue to uplift, continue to educate and continue to celebrate this juneteenth holiday,” said Mayor Slaughter.

In 1965, Thelma Brooks marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From Selma to Montgomery and says she’s proud to see how far we’ve come.

“I am so happy to be a part of this and to still be alive and I just pray that as I live forward that things will completely change and we will be treated equally,” said Brooks.

Those attending the event said they’re happy to have events like this and hope the city continues to celebrate Juneteenth every year.

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