BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Juneteenth has always been a day of remembrance for African Americans.. but this year’s Juneteenth celebration could be the biggest here in Bakersfield and around the country.
Friday marks 155 years since Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Texas to deliver the news that texas was once again under union control and that all slaves must be freed. That moment, on June 19, 1865, is remembered as the true end of slavery.
This year, following nationwide protests sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery more attention is turning to the holiday.
“It’s about time,” said Danny Morrison, media personality and Juneteenth event organizer. “I’ll take any catalyst necessary to have people pay attention to the plight of our people.”
Large companies like Nike, Twitter and Uber have made it a paid holiday.
“Slavery is the worst thing that could ever have happened and we’re finally starting to unravel the pain in this country,” said Morrison. “And, if making Juneteenth a federal holiday helps my people start to get rid of some of that pain, then I’m all for it.”
Here at home, Mayor Karen Goh signed a proclamation this morning recognizing Juneteenth as a city holiday.
In partnership with Morrison, Bakersfield College has held a series of Juneteenth conversations called #lightacandle over a two week period.
“Through conversations and dialogue, we can gain a better understanding of what can be done to address the issues that have plagued our community over so many years,” said Norma Rojas with BC.