Juneteenth celebrations this weekend are not limited to the large events in Fort Worth and Dallas but have a growing presence in North Texas’ suburban communities too.
If you’re learning to dance, it’s best to have a teacher with a name that matches the emotion she exudes in her lessons.
You need Joy.
“Just to feel great about yourself, that’s what Juneteenth is about, it’s a celebration of freedom,” Joy Cherry said.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.
As the owner of a DivaDance studio in McKinney, Joy Chery jumped at the chance to bring her class to the city’s official Juneteenth celebration on Saturday.
“You can come out, get some exercise, learn about the vendors and black-owned businesses in the area,” Chery said
On an admittedly hot afternoon, you will find a familiar mix of local business booths, music and food vendors you’d expect to see at a celebration.
The latest news from around North Texas.
But with a greater emphasis on awareness.
It’s why Kevin Tarver, who grew up in McKinney, brought his three grandchildren to their first Juneteenth.
“You have to understand why we celebrate it,” Tarver said. “I can honestly say things have gotten better but at the same time we still have a long ways to go.”
Juneteenth marks the day in June 1865 when Union soldiers landed in Galveston and informed enslaved people they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
What has historically been a largely a Texas-centered observation became a federal holiday just last year, giving it the same recognition that Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day hold.
“For it to be a national holiday and not just a Texas holiday, that’s very monumental,” Tarver said.
He adds the hope is celebrations like this become larger each year with the continued recognition that Black history is American history.
And perhaps more room for even more to dance.
“Just to see the growth and where we’ve come from, is great,” Chery said.