HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The city of Harrisburg and Dauphin County hosted the first Juneteenth celebration downtown on Saturday.
The celebration right in front of city hall had 2nd Street closed down for hours as big crowds gathered for the food, vendors and live entertainment.
The city of Harrisburg is celebrating freedom and equality for all.
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“It’s important that my kids know when we were actually set free. It’s important that my kids know that, my grandkids to know, that July 4 is not our holiday that Juneteenth is when we were really set free,” said Taleah Hall.
Sunday, June 19 marks 157 years since the last slaves were emancipated from Galveston, Texas, two years after the emancipation proclamation was signed.
“Juneteenth is just a remembrance of all those who have come before us and sacrifice to bring us the joy and the freedoms that we have today,” said Nelva Wright, health officer for the City of Harrisburg.
The festivities were all about showcasing black culture and talent, but also about education with Brian Smith and the Black Equity Coalition.
“We’re trying to stomp out those health care disparities, disparities also in small business, in crimes and violence in certain communities,” Smith said. “We’re trying to make sure that it’s all equitable and we can help out black and brown people across the state.”
Kids and adults of all ages got a chance to bust some moves but also learn about our history.
“I need her to know especially nowadays the way things are in society that this is what we have. This is where we come from, and this is very important to us,” Hall said.
Mayor Wanda Williams and County Commissioner George Hartwick also took part in the celebration, with Hartwick proclaiming June 19, 2022 as Juneteenth National Independence Day in Dauphin County.