NewsCovering Kern County


Celebrating Juneteenth as a federal holiday this year

Senators want to replace Columbus Day with Juneenth Day as federal holiday
Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 22:21:07-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — While many Black Americans across the country have been celebrating Juneteenth for years, now that it's an official federal holiday, it's important for people to understand the background behind this new holiday.

“This is something that will actually now be in the history books and our children will learn about it in school, not just in our homes,” said Porche Thomas, coordinator or the Juneteenth Heritage Festival.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth Independence Day Act, recognizing when slaves in Texas were notified of the Emancipation Proclamation back in 1865.

Nick Hill, President of the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce said this is a significant event, not only for African Americans, but everyone.

“The takeaway of tomorrow, the first thing like I said is always unity,” he said. “To make sure that they connect with everyone because this will be a great way to connect with all the organizations. “

Here in Bakersfield, there are two events taking place celebrating Juneteenth. The NAACP chapter will be hosting their Sixth Annual Juneteenth celebration at Yokuts Park, bringing together a number of Black organizations including the Black Chamber of Commerce.

The second event happening is the second Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival happening Saturday at Beech Park. Porche Thomas who helped organize the event says it's a day for the community to come together and learn

“I think they should take away from the event, is a lot of education, a lot of fun, a lot of peace and togetherness,” she said.

Hill added that as we have fun celebrating the day as an official holiday, it’s important not to forget the significance behind the date.

“As far as the Juneteenth is concerned, it is an extremely important day for African Americans because it is now a national holiday,” Hill said. “It is a national holiday that’s recognizing us.”

The city of Wasco is also hosting their first Juneteenth celebration at 10 a.m., hosted by Wasco's Black community of faith.