San Antonio event organizers celebrate after President Biden makes Juneteenth a federal holiday

Celebrations will have added significance, say organizers

SAN ANTONIO – Juneteenth this year will take on added significance now that President Biden has signed long-awaited legislation making it a federal holiday.

“What we’re celebrating tonight is the future of the Black community, and that means that our future is bright,” said Kimiya Factory, executive director of the Black Freedom Factory, an organization using data-driven activism to promote racial equity.

Black Freedom Factory is throwing its first Juneteenth celebration it’s calling “The Future is Freedom.”

The event featuring live music, art and soul food, will be from 6:30 p.m. -10 p.m. at the Hopscotch Museum at the corner of Travis and Navarro in downtown San Antonio.

Tickets range from $15-$50 with the proceeds benefiting the Corazon Ministries and the Texas Heat Wave Project, providing cooling kits to those struggling with homelessness.

Factory said Juneteenth’s federal holiday designation comes just over a year after George Floyd was murdered, leading to worldwide protests.

“We still have a ways to go. We always will have ways to go,” Factory said. “Change is a marathon. It’s not a sprint.”

Byron Miller, San Antonio’s Juneteenth commissioner, said as a result of the federal holiday designation, “There’s going to be a lot of exuberance and excitement about that, but it needs to be tempered.”

He said it should be a time to reflect and an opportunity to enlighten others.

“It’s maybe a time to pause, to say, ‘Hey, let’s come together,’” Miller said. “Let’s break bread. Let’s have celebrations. Let’s have understanding.”

He said thousands of people in San Antonio will have the opportunity to do that during the Texas Freedom Festival.

After the pandemic forced its cancellation last year, the Texas Freedom Festival will resume Friday and Saturday at Comanche Park.

Miller has organized the free event for 25 years, but he said the community has been celebrating Juneteenth since 1866, the year after word finally reached Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves two and a half years earlier.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.