Stockton Celebrates 150th Annual Juneteenth Holiday

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STOCKTON --

"We had some local artists and some local talent. It was a fun day."

Terrance West helped organize this Juneteenth celebration at the Taft Community Center in South Stockton.

It’s a task this week's events back east made all the more challenging.

"I was really hurt. I was really, really pumped up for this event. But again it's just a constant reminder that we still have some plagues in our community,” West said.

It was a feeling shared by vendors as well.

"You know my immediate reaction, you almost don't want to believe it, because that was so many people and the fact that he went into a church," said Debra Day.

Day runs Shay by the Bay, an educational books company specializing in African-American culture.

She says now is the time for parents to talk with their kids about why tragedies like this happen.

"We just have to teach our kids also about their inner selves and also to recognize when these incidents like that happen throughout our nation, you know how to identify racism prejudice. People think that stuff is gone, and it's not,” Day said.

Of course, Juneteenth itself is a holiday which stems from the end of slavery and its announcement when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas.

"General Gordon Granger rode into Texas with some black military soldiers, announced to Texas that the emancipation proclamation was passed and the slaves were free,” said Day.

Sadly that time period also marks the beginning of some hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan.

"Some other races just don't like us, and I don't have a problem with that, you know what I mean?"

But to end that hate, many we spoke with feel Juneteenth should be expanded to include more than just the African-American community, and instead be a holiday for all Americans.

"You got to include everybody. That's what makes America so strong."

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