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North Texas: What does Juneteenth mean to you?


Hundreds of North Texans gathered and celebrated at many different places and in many different ways. WFAA went to ask people why they were celebrating.

TEXAS, USA — Juneteenth is the nation’s youngest federal holiday, but its roots go back more than 150 years.

The United States celebrated its first federally-recognized Juneteenth in 2021 after President Joe Biden signed a bill creating Juneteenth National Independence Day. 

On Saturday, the grandmother of Juneteenth put on her walking shoes as hundreds joined Lee for the 2022 Juneteenth Freedom Walk.

Hundreds of others around North Texas gathered and celebrated at many different places and in many different ways.

So WFAA went to some of these places and asked North Texans one simple question:

What does Juneteenth mean to you?

LaDarryl Woods: “To me, I think Juneteenth means unity. It means togetherness. I’m rocking my DNA shirt because my grandma was a real estate investor but she just didn’t really know how to get to the next level. So I’m the DNA, the recipient of just that, you know what I mean? Of buying property and understanding what generational legacy means. And to leave a foundation for the family and the ones coming under us. We didn’t understand what we had and financial literacy and all of those things.”

Tiajuan Woods: “It’s about honoring our ancestors. The ones that paved the way for us to be where we are today. It’s honoring them and giving back. That’s why we’re here.”

Gary Crosby: “Well, number one, it means that we have come a long way. I don’t buy all that the country’s not together. We’re together. We just have to stay focused on what the prize is, and that’s love, respect and culturism. We have to stay together. Look, we have Blacks. We have Whites. Spanish. Latino. Juneteenth is for everybody. It’s not just our culture. It’s everybody. My wife is from South America. My son is mixed. I’m an African American. Hey, Juneteenth is all of us together.”

Craig Boone: “Juneteenth basically means the Independence Day in Texas. As we know in history, Texas was one of the last states to know that African Americans were not enslaved anymore, so basically, we’re celebrating independence of Black people and their freedom from slavery. And it’s just basically a celebration of Blacks coming together celebrating history and the future and basically everything else.”

Noah Dixon: “It’s a day of celebration. Happiness. Joy. Camaraderie. And family.”

Priscilla De Leon: “It’s a step hopefully in the right direction. Maybe one day soon we’ll get over all of this. Because we’re equal. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter about the skin color at all.”

Jade Jones: “Basically, just celebrating being free. Doing what you want, when you want, how you want to. Living how you want to.” 

Marcellus Rainey: “Juneteenth means to me, it’s a celebration of freedom for our culture, you know what I’m saying. It took so long for the people in Texas to know that we were free, so I want to make sure that the people that didn’t know for so long, it’s just important for us to get out there and get that out there in the public. I want to celebrate it. I want to make sure that their place is honored in history.”

Ashley Finley: “Juneteenth is all about freedom. It’s about celebration. It’s about delayed but not denied. So even though the message didn’t come quite at the time that it was released, it still came at the correct time, and now we can all enjoy the benefits of that message.”

Renney Kearney: “I didn’t grow up learning about Juneteenth. And now, for it to have so much exposure, I’m able to tell my daughter and my son and teach them about the culture that we didn’t know about. I think that’s an amazing thing.”

Kierra Young: “Juneteenth is important because as Black people, I feel like this is something that we needed. Obviously, it happened in the 1800s. But dating back to today, this is something where we can celebrate our community and our culture. That’s what it’s about. Celebration for us.”

Billie Jean Perryman: “Just means for the African American community that we finally were able to get our freedom even though it took a few years to come to Texas, so it’s just a celebration of our culture.”

John Davis: “It’s a chance for the community to come together and celebrate freedom and unity.”

Wilma Mitchell: “What does Juneteenth mean to me? Freedom, fellowship, love, togetherness, unity. As a community, that we come together. We love each other and we work to make this world a better place.”

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