Juneteenth - A different feel this year

Celebrating Juneteenth in the U.S. this year has a different feel this year after the George Floyd incident in Minnesota and subsequent protests that have led to change in many states across the country.

Posted: Jun 19, 2020 6:24 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2020 6:29 PM

UTICA, N.Y. - As Juneteenth is celebrated around the country this year, many say this year's commemoration has a different feel to it than in years past.

First, a look at the the history behind Juneteenth.

President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863 freeing slaves across the country but that executive order was ignored by confederate states until two and a half years later when, on June 19th, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas announcing the end of the Civil War and that all those who were enslaved were now free.

Those federal troops remained in Texas to enforce the freeing of slaves.

Patrick Johnson, a longtime activist in Utica, says this historic day of June 19th, 1865 has been celebrated for years on this date each year, but he says this year, the commemoration has a totally different feel, "We’ve been celebrating Juneteenth here in the city of Utica and I know other cities have been doing it too, it has more significance now. The symbolism of this holiday is equally as important now as it was hundreds of years ago."

Johnson has been an activist in Utica working on race relations in the city for more than a decade, "We didn’t start doing this last week, we didn’t start doing this because of the George Floyd incident and tragedy, we’ve been doing this for 15 years."

The name 'Juneteenth' is a combination of "June" and "Nineteenth". It's also known as African American Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

Johnson says the images caught on camera of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota less than a month ago on May 25th will forever be remembered for the discrimination that still exists in our country and he believes it will also be remembered for the beginning of what many are hoping is real change, "In my lifetime and I’m a middle-aged black man, I’ve never seen so many white people on board for justice and fairness around these issues, I’ve never seen it like that before so that’s why am optimistic."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 500677

Reported Deaths: 33435
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens766967293
Kings751697390
Bronx553544988
Nassau496632208
Suffolk489982019
Westchester404381470
New York360763195
Rockland17943683
Richmond172521095
Orange13597505
Erie13021713
Monroe7312300
Dutchess5472163
Onondaga5454207
Albany3627136
Broome356683
Oneida2746128
Ulster251895
Niagara2075101
Putnam181263
Sullivan177948
Chemung17433
Schenectady157050
Saratoga134517
Rensselaer109942
Steuben100557
Chautauqua92413
Columbia71038
Ontario66935
Tioga62930
Oswego6274
Tompkins6190
Madison56517
Cortland5470
Greene50518
Cattaraugus5026
Wayne4885
Warren45933
Orleans40654
Otsego4005
St. Lawrence3994
Cayuga3972
Chenango3977
Herkimer39410
Genesee3885
Fulton36224
Washington33614
Allegany3081
Livingston3058
Montgomery2684
Clinton2465
Jefferson2070
Essex1980
Wyoming1885
Delaware1777
Seneca1433
Lewis1270
Schuyler1260
Yates1237
Schoharie1110
Franklin800
Hamilton170
Unassigned019
Utica
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Oneonta
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 36°
Herkimer
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Thendara
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 37°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
VOTE OCTOBER 22-30
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left