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Bakersfield community leaders speak about history of Juneteenth

Posted at 1:13 AM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 10:32:51-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Many across the country are celebrating Juneteenth, which is the day where slavery had officially ended in the United States.

23ABC spoke with a few leaders in the community who say June 19 is just as important as the 4th of July.

June 19 is also known as Black Independence Day, Jubile, or Juneteenth.

It is the day in 1865 when Texas finally received orders that all slaves were officially free.

Although two and a half years earlier the Emancipation Proclamation had already freed them.
Now the day is celebrated.

Leaders spoke with 23ABC and say this year's celebration holds a deeper meaning on the heels of protest across the country, in honor of George Floyd.

"I think that the marches, the candlelight visuals, the meetings, and having the interest not just shown by African Americans means something," said Isaiah Crompton, MLK Community Initiative leader.

"Not this many people showed up when Dr. King was assassinated, but in this day and time to have this many people come out for a cause-- we need to continue to march on and make some changes."

Community leaders hope that people unite on Juneteenth and learn the history of the second Independence Day.
Suggesting that it should be a national holiday as the 4th of July is.

Right now, only 46 states and D.C. celebrate Juneteenth as a state holiday, California is not one of those states.
"It's the day that we were freed in America and our story is a lot different than most here in America," said Patrick Jackson, NAACP president of the Bakersfield chapter."

"People coming from slavery who were in enslave in this country continue to be treated as second class citizens, but the joy of us being able to come together is wonderful."

In 2018 The U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day, but it has not yet reached the house.