San Antonio celebrates Juneteenth for the first time as a federal holiday

Locals took part in block parties and other festivities to commemorate the holiday

SAN ANTONIO – People have been celebrating Juneteenth for 165 years. Here in Texas, it’s been a state holiday since 1979.

But for the first time, all Americans are celebrating Juneteenth as a federal holiday. This comes after President Joe Biden signed long-awaited legislation making it a federal holiday earlier this week.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg took part in Saturday’s Juneteenth festivities in San Antonio by reading a city proclamation at a local event, hosted by the Dream Big Scholarship Foundation, making Juneteenth an official city holiday.

“Today is a day of celebration, but also of recognizing the work that’s left ahead of us,” Nirenberg said.

Most of the celebrations around town took place in District 2. Newly-elected city council member Jalen McKee-Rodriguez was in attendance, and he said the recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is just the beginning.

“Yes, Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to remember how far we have to go,” said McKee-Rodriguez.

San Antonio residents also took part in block parties to commemorate the holiday. The events brought live music and food, gathering families across the city.

Juneteenth celebrates when Union soldiers brought word to Galveston, Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves, two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

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