BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – June 19 has always been a day of remembrance for African Americans. But this year’s June 19th celebration could be the biggest here in Bakersfield and across the country.
Friday marks 155 years since Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news that Texas was again under union control and that all slaves must be freed from slavery.
This year, more attention is paid to the holiday following nationwide protests sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
“The time has come,” said Danny Morrison, media personality and organizer of the Juneteenth event. “I will take whatever catalyst is necessary to make people pay attention to our people’s plight.”
Big companies like Nike, Twitter, and Uber have made it a paid vacation. .
“Slavery is the worst that could ever happen and we are finally starting to unravel the pain in this country,” said Morrison. “And if it helps my people to make Juneteenth a federal holiday to get rid of some of that pain, then I’m all for it.”
Here at home, Mayor Karen Goh signed a proclamation this morning recognizing Juneteenth as a city holiday. .
Working with Morrison, Bakersfield College held a series of conversations over a two-week period called #lightacandle on June 19th. .
“Through conversation and dialogue, we can better understand what can be done to address the problems that have plagued our community for so many years,” said Norma Rojas of BC.