Columbus gets ready to celebrate 25 years of Juneteenth
It's a celebration of freedom; for the second year Juneteenth is being recognized as a national holiday
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- It’s a celebration of freedom; for the second year, Juneteenth is being recognized as a national holiday.
Organizers of festivities in Columbus have been celebrating Juneteenth long before it became an official holiday.
Lowndes County supervisor Leroy Brooks has helped organize the Juneteenth celebration in Columbus all 25 years.
He said it started small, but got bigger each year until COVID-19 stopped the celebration.
In 2022 he expects a large turn out and a lot of history to be learned about the national holiday.
Juneteenth celebrates the anniversary of the last confederate state to end slavery; it was in Texas on June 19, 1865.
Communities across the country have been holding celebrations to commemorate it for years, but president Biden signed a proclamation, making it a national holiday in 2021.
Coordinators over the Lowndes County celebration are excited it’s now official.
“From the emancipation proclamation to the signing of the proclamation for Juneteeth was approximately 158 years and that’s a long time, but I think the signing of the proclamation acknowledged that slavery was bad,” said district 5 supervisor Leroy Brooks.
Brooks is one of the organizers for the annual Juneteenth celebration. On Friday June 10, 2022 the celebration starts with a Juneteenth freedom ball at the trotter convention center, then on June 17, 2022 at Sim Scott Park the Juneteenth festival kickoff begins.
Brooks said the reason he wanted to start and continue the event was because of his personal experiences.
“I grew up in a time where I saw first hand discrimination, I saw first hand impact of racism, I’ve seen it head on and I could have used it as an excuse for not doing some thing. I used it as a motivation to try and affect some change,” said Brooks.
Through the last 25 years Brooks has seen positive and negative change in the city, but it never detours him from his goal of helping those in his community; especially the youth
“Juneteenth celebration is a call for duty, there’s a lot of issues in our community and I think that people need to use this as a launching board to begin to talk about what we need to do to make our community a marvel community,” said Brooks.