NewsLocal News


Salt Lake City celebrates Juneteenth

Posted at 10:38 PM, Jun 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-20 00:38:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Cheers rang out in Salt Lake City, from Washington Square Park to Liberty Park, in honor of Juneteenth.

Saturday was the first time it was recognized as a federal holiday — a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, dating back to 1865.

“We really wanted to take a step back from having a rally or a protest and really celebrate what it is to be Black in America,” Abena Bakenra said.

The day, recently declared an official federal holiday, brought people of all ages together with music, food and vendors.

For some celebrating, the march and celebrations are a way for them to speak out.

"Today I hope my voice will get out and people will understand what is going on to people of color," Rosette Balati said.

Others say they enjoy the chance to come together as a community.

"Our goal is to make it feel like you're driving by a park and you think, 'I wish I had that family.' We are that family," said Alicea Arnold, a co-founder of Strength in Shades.

The events at both parks had hundreds of people coming out showing their support and checking out the vendors throughout the day. Despite the almost 100 degree weather, attendees say that facing these warm temperatures was worth it.

READ: Cox issues proclamation commemorating June 19 as Juneteenth in Utah

Some celebrators say that while they're grateful for the official holiday, this is just the beginning.

"There's definitely so much more that the Black community needs to be done, so this is definitely just the beginning," Rosine Nibishaka said.