Festivals, events celebrate Juneteenth in North Texas this weekend

June 19, or 'Juneteenth', was officially made a federal holiday in 2021

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There are celebrations across North Texas this weekend in honor of Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of all enslaved African Americans.

June 19, or Juneteenth, was officially made a federal holiday in 2021. One festival this weekend was held Saturday in Dallas, hosted by the Blair Foundation. Co-director Darryl Blair describes the organization as a community-based group focusing on “indirect” needs.

“You know, if someone is short on bill money for their life and they can prove that sufficiently, we will try to help with that. We send kids to camps, to school with clothes,” Blair said. “This is meeting people where they are, understanding what the needs are. Even if it’s not clearly spoken to you, it’s spoken in whispered tones and you get a chance to get an idea of what goes on in this community. You see this community is economically challenged, socially challenged, culturally challenged. Let’s just be candid, but the companies come out and they find a way to help remedy it.”

Vendors at the event Saturday ranged from voter registration to healthcare. Dr. Jenny Earls is the assistant chief nursing officer at Medical City in McKinney.

“It’s important for us to celebrate diversity but also talk about history and education, not just for us but for our generations to come. How do we tell them about the past while ensuring we are still present in the future?” Dr. Earls said.

Another event Saturday was hosted through lifestyle retailer DTLR along with the nonprofit, For Oak Cliff.

Advocacy organizations were also presented at that event, along with Dallas ISD representatives who assisted in Pre-K registration.

The events Saturday come two days before Fort Worth is set to host Opal Lee’s annual Walk For Freedom, which is a 2.5-mile walk that will start and end at the Evans Avenue Plaza. The miles mark the 2.5 years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach enslaved people in Texas.

“I want the people to realize that working together, different nationalities, different ethnic groups, that we can achieve so much. And quickly,” Lee said this week.

The walk will begin around 10:45 a.m. Monday.

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