Utica - The Utica community came together to celebrate Juneteenth.
America has been filled with protests of racial justice amid civil unrest from major cities across the nation to our very own, giving this year's Juneteenth commemoration a different feeling.
“It definitely is shedding more light on what we've been through where we're going and what's next for us,” said Kalisha Lockheart, organizer of Utica’s Juneteenth Celebration.
“In light of all the protests as well, I feel like this was a time to take a step back and instead of fight for one day we can definitely celebrate who we are, what we are, where we come from, and as I said, where we're going.”
Utica Abolitionists in cooperation with local entrepreneurs and activists put together a family-friendly celebration with speakers, music, food, care package giveaways and people from various walks of life to celebrate black people and black culture.
“It's a holiday and it's about freedom and it's about emancipation,” said Ron Klopfanstein, celebration attendee.
“I think that this year of all years it's extra important that people who are white and people who are from rural communities that we really step up and we show that we support the black community.”
Juneteenth is not just a celebration but a day of awareness and progress.
“White people have to listen more to black people that's what has to change.” said Klopfanstein. “People have to listen to minorities tell about their experience and just take in what they’re trying to tell us.”