BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Juneteenth celebrations kicked off throughout the weekend across the nation, and here at home.
Hundreds of people flocked to Yokuts Park in Bakersfield to celebrate Juneteenth a day early, enjoying live music, food and more. The Bakersfield chapter of the NAACP organized the event honoring Black history.
“Juneteenth to me is to celebrate the freedom of African American People,” Ozear Hunt an event attendee said.
“I feel like Juneteenth for me at least is to show my freedom and be proud of my skin color as a person,” Ariyana Craig the president of the NAACP Youth Council said.
The local NAACP also hosted a three-on-three basketball tournament at the Dignity Health Sports Complex Sunday.
“I think it’s really good to attach fun to this holiday,” Winston Crite the marketing Director for GSA said. “Especially with it being a federal holiday. This is fun, it was really necessary to attach fun to the holiday it’s just a really good fit.”
Many people say Juneteenth celebrates progress made towards racial equality in America but Bakersfield’s NAACP President says the fight against racism is far from over.
“1865 was not when racism stopped,” NAACP Bakersfield Branch President Patrick Jackson said. “We still had Jim Crow laws, we still had issues. Even to this day we still try to create ways to even the playing field within our community. So when we say it was so long ago we’re talking about the ’60’s. Many of the people are still alive when those things were happening.”
“It’s a beautiful thing to come out and see people of all colors come together and recognize and celebrate this date in history,” Hunt said. “Hopefully one of these days it’ll be recognized throughout the United States rather than in only 10 states.”