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Juneteenth celebration is Saturday

Juneteenth, which became a national holiday Thursday when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, marks the day that U.S.  Gen. Gordon Granger reached Galveston, Texas, with the news that slaves were free.
Sponsored by Star Lite Chapter #510 Order of the Eastern Star, the event in the Historic Seventh Avenue District includes free food and other activities. The food includes barbecue and baked beans, chips, hot dogs donated by Hot Dog World, plus pound cake and strawberry sodas.
"I am ecstatic about it," Melinda Lowrance, of Star Lite Chapter #510, said of the new Juneteenth holiday. "To go ahead and make it into a federal law is awesome. Now I believe the state has to enforce it and locally. And I do believe it will happen here in Henderson County because the city has embraced this celebration. I believe it will be pushed forward and made a legal holiday in the state of North Carolina."
Lowrance said she had been busy for three days preparing pork barbecue and barbecued chicken and another volunteer was busying making pound cake.
The Starlight Chapter, the Henderson County Public Library and Pardee Hospital will have information tables. "We're promoting the library," which will display black history books. "That's the whole idea, just to bring the community together and make them aware."
"We will have a deejay down there to play music," she said. "We will have that information available about Juneteenth, because a lot of people weren't even aware, didn't even know what it meant."

Gov. Roy Cooper proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth Day in North Carolina, honoring the oldest known commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States.

“As we celebrate Black heritage, history and freedom, it’s critical that we also take this opportunity to both celebrate the progress we’ve made and accept the challenge we still face to achieve true racial equality,” Cooper said. “By addressing the systemic racism that has been in our communities for centuries, we can create a more just and equitable future.”

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the news of freedom, reaching some of the last enslaved men and women in the United States.

Despite more than 150 years of progress since the abolition of slavery, Black communities still face economic, institutional and social barriers. Over the past year, communities across the state and nation have continued to grapple with these inequities in order to build a fairer, more just society.

In June 2020, Gov. Cooper established the Andrea Harris Social Economic Environmental Health Disparities Task Force to address the longstanding, systemic disparities in communities of color. He also created the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice to acknowledge and eliminate systemic racial bias in criminal justice.