PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed legislation into law that makes Juneteenth a federal holiday in the United States.
Here in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, there is a ten-day stretch of events celebrating the day when the last slaves finally learned they were free.
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For some, it feels like a moment they have been waiting for. Vendors and organizers said it feels liberating to have the opportunity to share their history and heritage.
75 local Black-owned businesses set up shop at Economic Impact Plaza in Downtown Pittsburgh.
“It feels good, I feel appreciated,” said Teresa Franklin, SKIN business owner. “I’m happy to get my business out there and for everyone else to get their business out there.”
Teresa Franklin feels allowing her Black-owned all-natural skin care business and others to promote themselves is a good way to bring the city closer.
“I feel like everybody is trying to make progressive steps forward and making Juneteenth a federal holiday is one step closer,” said Franklin. “We have a lot of work to do, but it was exciting to hear the news.”
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In Mellon Park, Juneteenth activities are youth-geared, trying to get them active in sports to attempt to curb future violence in the city. Rashad Colvin is running the flag football tournament.
“Our goal is to get the kids young, nuture them and give them something to do other than sitting at home and getting into the wrong stuff,” said Colvin.
He believes this also acts as a history lesson, to spin the wheels of children’s minds and draw their interest to keep learning.
“If we can start getting to the youth earlier, they’ll say what else is out there,” said Colvin. “They think about Black Wall sSreet, they haven’t heard about that, so it’s the small stuff like that that we want to introduce to them young so they know there’s more out there.”
Not only is there more history but there are a whole week of events planned throughout the county to take part in.
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You can find a full list of events right here on our website at this link.