Community celebrates Juneteenth in Fresno

Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Community celebrates Juneteenth in Fresno
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Celebrations continued for the fifth straight day in Fresno for Juneteenth.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Celebrations continued for the fifth straight day in Fresno for Juneteenth.

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

In honor of the Juneteenth holiday, city leaders and community members gathered to raise the Juneteenth flag a Fresno City Hall on Monday.

"As we gather today and we raise this flag of freedom. I pray that we will do so with love, I pray that will do so with acceptance of one another," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

"Such an honor and a blessing to be able to be here to witness it and be here and actually raise the flag for our community here in Fresno," added Janice Sumler.

June 19th has been a federal holiday for two years now.

However, African Americans in Texas have been celebrating Juneteenth since the 1800s.

"My family is from East Texas and I stand on the shoulders and am a descendant of slaves but am thankful today that my children get to choose," explained Deputy Mayor Matt Grundy.

June 19, 1865 was the day enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their freedom, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

"When over 2,000 soldiers came to Galveston, Texas and declared to the folks who did not know - Black folks y'all are free," said Pastor Paul Binion.

To celebrate Juneteenth, the Central Valley kicked off a festival in Downtown Fresno on Thursday at the African American Cultural and Arts Museum.

The five-day event also featured a freedom walk and run at Woodward Park.

There were also performances and entertainment at the Fresno Convention Center's Valdez Hall, where nearly 5,000 people supported over one hundred vendors.

As the multi-day event comes to a close, the City of Fresno honored the Juneteenth Committee with a Proclamation.

ABC30 is a proud sponsor of the Fresno Juneteenth Festival.