What is Juneteenth?

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – June 19th, known as Juneteenth is known as the day that celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the U.S.

“I believe if they make it a federal holiday the education that should’ve occurred over the years, will happen,” said President of the Elmira/Corning Branch of the NAACP, Georgia Verdier.

First celebrated in Texas in 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and declared slaves there to be free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.

Approximately, a century and a half later, people all across the nation continue to celebrate Juneteenth.

“The emancipation proclamation was signed, two years before. Those people in Texas did not even know they were free, so they were still thinking they were enslaved two years later and when they found out they should have been free, two years earlier, they celebrated,” said Georgia Verdier.

Here in Elmira, multiple organizations like the Elmira/Corning Branch of the NAACP and the Economic Opportunity Program hosts events to celebrate and educate the community.

“It really brings all of our service providers together, and it’s such a great event because it brings the culture of what this community is together,” said Anita Lewis.

This year the NAACP is partnering with Arnot Health to give vaccinations and they are offering incentives.

“Our ancestors need to be celebrated,” said Vice President of Community and Donor Relations at the EOP Anita Lewis.

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