Juneteenth virtual events throughout Houston send same powerful message

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Juneteenth celebrations may have not been traditional this year, but it hasn't stopped communities from reflecting on its historical significance.

"Let's re-position Juneteenth as a day of political and social activism, not just a day but as the beginning of a period of political and social activism," said law professor Craig Jackson.

During a virtual Juneteenth event hosted by the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, faculty members looked back on the legal battles for racial equality and noted that the work is far from over.

"Perhaps it comes from us. It starts from us where we have to remain active and have the spirit of activism in us to keep the level of engagement up, and to keep this country honest in terms of what it says it intended to do based on the constitution," said TMSL dean Joan Bullock.

This year's "We Are Juneteenth" celebration hosted by the Emancipation Park Conservancy was also held virtually.

"We want to take a few moments to recognize Juneteenth, its history and connection to Emancipation Park," said the park's board vice chairman, Jacqueline Bostic. "June 19, 1965 is a day that Texas slaves learned they were free two years after it was affected in the United States."

The event also paid tribute to the "Father of Juneteenth," the late Texas State Rep. Al Edwards.

"He was a civil rights activist and served on the front lines with Martin Luther King, Jr. He served over 33 years as a legislator, and in 1979, during his first year in office, he led the charge to help Texas become the first state in the country to make the abolition of slavery an official holiday, Juneteenth, June 19," said Donna Franklin, event host and program director for KTSU 90.9 FM.

Whether you celebrated in person or online, one message is clear: "I think today America is ready for a change," said distinguished professor of law, James Douglas.

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