TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Juneteenth commemorates the arrival of Union troops to Texas in 1865 to free all remaining slaves. Today, the NAACP Troy branch will be hosting its first-ever NAACP-sponsored festival and commemoration.

The event will be held at the Troy Riverfront Park starting at 6 p.m. If you’re unable to attend, they’ll be live streaming from their Facebook page.

According to the President of the NAACP Troy branch, Renee Powell, she said the event originally started as a healing event regarding recent social issues across the country, but now it incorporates a Juneteenth event. Powell said she hopes the event promotes conversation, respect, and a better understanding between one another.

They will be holding a prayer service, members will be providing poetry readings and songs about experiences not just during the pandemic but also recent social issues. Troy mayor Patrick Madden will also be presenting the proclamation and executive order, officially recognizing Juneteenth a holiday for county workers.

Powell said it’s a spiritual event and gives an opportunity to reflect.

“Emancipation didn’t happen overnight,” Powell said. That is why we still need to do a commemoration just to remind us of where we have come from and where we need to go, that there is still work that needs to be done.”