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Growing up in the home of Black Wall Street for years I never knew the significance of Juneteenth until I entered high school. I first heard about the Tulsa Race Massacre when I was about 6 years ago, but that’s another story for another day.
After going to Juneteenth for years and before even knowing what it meant, I saw it as a community celebration and a reason to gather on Greenwood.
Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, this annual holiday celebrated in the United States on June 19 commemorates the complex emancipation of our enslaved ancestors and the eventual end of slavery in the United States.
After learning this, I look at Juneteenth differently, and other people my age look at this day significantly as well. Niya Rhodes, a 16-year-old high school student explains, “I come to Juneteenth to celebrate with my people. It’s Black excellence.”
Pharis Wheat, a Black high school student as well, also sees Juneteenth as a celebration. “Coming out and being around people of my culture. I also plan on coming as I get older and teaching younger kids about Juneteenth as well,” said Pharis.
Greenwood has the biggest Juneteenth celebration in the nation and we should take pride in that. Take pride in the fact that we will not never let this day go unnoticed.
Like all things though, not everything is perfect. Lots of work is to be done and as time goes on, I will continue to tell the younger generation about Juneteenth and thanks to people like Niya and Pharis — I won’t be alone.