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County raises Juneteenth flag for first time to commemorate holiday

Posted at 8:05 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 23:05:37-04

(KGTV) — Friday, San Diego County raised a Juneteenth flag for the first time at the administration building downtown in observance of the holiday.

Juneteenth is Sunday, June 19. It commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

"It is our county going on record to say that this matters, this holiday matters," said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

On the flag is the date June 19, 1865. It's the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX, to inform enslaved African Americans that slavery had ended in America, two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Vanessa Green, the Equity Manager for the county's Equity and Racial Justice office, said the holiday is about celebrating Black freedom, history, and culture.

"It also means that we get to celebrate our beauty, our resilience, our unity," Green said.

Also at the ceremony was Thelma Cooper.

"I'm just so happy and so full that this has come," Cooper said.

Cooper and her family began celebrating Juneteenth in San Diego long before it became a federal holiday last year.

"Just like the average person celebrating Fourth of July, we always celebrated in our backyard, and that's how it started," Cooper said.

The City of Chula Vista also held a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony.

Debra McLaren, the Director of Leadership Development, Equity, and Access for Chula Vista Elementary School District, spoke about the importance of educating children about the history behind the holiday.

"We need to raise awareness about the importance of how we carefully teach our young people because they are the future," McLaren said.