ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hundreds of people at Civic Plaza are celebrating Juneteenth this weekend, now a federal holiday, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The three-day celebration comes as the state begins to open back up.
“You’ve heard about Juneteenth forever, but a lot of people really don’t know what it was,” said Dr. Lisa Choice, a vendor at this year’s Juneteenth Celebration at Civic Plaza. Dr. Choice says she hopes now that it’s a federal holiday, more people will learn about its significance.
Historically, Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform slaves they’d been freed. “It was really a great cause of celebration,” said Gwen Samuels, a vendor at the Juneteenth Celebration.
The three-day event comes one year after Black Lives Matter supporters took to the streets of Downtown Albuquerque demanding justice for George Floyd and protesting police brutality, and one day after the state announced New Mexico will be reopening on July 1. Vendors say that’s making an impact on the event’s turnout.
“Yesterday here at Juneteenth was phenomenal. So many people showed up,” said Samuels. “People were dancing, it was great, people were really happy to be out,” she said. Samuels says she hopes people will use the fun event to understand the history and culture behind the holiday.