Salt Lake City celebrates Juneteenth

SALT LAKE CITY – In honor of Juneteenth, cheers rang out in Salt Lake City, from Washington Square Park to Liberty Park.

Saturday marked the first time it was recognized as a federal holiday – a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in 1865.

“We really wanted to take a step back from a rally or protest and really celebrate what it is to be black in America,” said Abena Bakenra.

The day recently declared an official national holiday brought people of all ages together with music, food and vendors.

For some who celebrate, the march and festivities are a way to raise their voices.

“Today I hope my voice comes out and people understand what’s going on with People of Color,” said Rosette Balati.

Others say they enjoy the chance to come together as a community.

“Our goal is to make it feel like you’re driving through a park and thinking, ‘I wish I had this family.’ We are that family, “said Alicea Arnold, co-founder of Strength in Shades.

Hundreds of people came to the events in both parks to show their support and check out the vendors throughout the day. Despite the almost 100 degree weather, the participants paid off to face these warm temperatures.

READ: Cox issues a proclamation commemorating June 19 as Juneteenth, Utah

Some celebrants say that while they are grateful for the official holiday, this is just the beginning.

“There is definitely so much more the black community needs to do, so this is definitely just the beginning,” said Rosine Nibishaka.

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