Federal-holiday designation adds to local Juneteenth celebrations

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Celebrations for Juneteenth continue throughout this week in Wichita. Those celebrations have extra special meaning with Thursday’s presidential signing that officially recognizes June 19 (Juneteenth) as a federal holiday.

“Coming together for Juneteenth is always going to be special. In our sixth year, we’re really glad to be able to do this in-person because last year we were unable to due to COVID. And so there’s going to be lots of programming all week long,” said Juneteenth ICT Marketing Director Ti’Juana Hardwell.

NAACP Wichita Branch President Larry Burks touched on the significance of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday.

“Slavery was an institution that was a dark stain on our history. And this happening now and making it an official holiday is something that is very great and something that we should all celebrate,” he said.

McAdams Park is hosting many of the events in Wichita planned for Juneteenth.

“We’ll be having some music in the park, lots of events going on out there,” Hardwell said. “We’re also excited for the inaugural Carl Brewer Barbecue Cook-Off.”

Anyone can attend the events scheduled in the park.

“No matter what your color is, we definitely want everyone to come,” Hardwell said. “We’re a community and so we’re hoping that everyone joins in on the celebration.”

“All of us as a country can celebrate because again, African American history is American history,” Brooks added. “And we should always celebrate it that same way, always.”

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