“Many people may not be aware why many of us as African Americans celebrate a different date as our Independence Day,” said Nia Colom about the Juneteenth holiday. African American slaves were not actually freed until June 19 of 1865 when General Gordon Granger stood on a balcony in Galveston, Texas to read an order that gave absolute equality of rights and property between masters and former slaves.”

Texas and New Hampshire now recognize the holiday. In 2010, Mississippi became the 36th state to do so. By the end of 2019, 45 states recognized Juneteenth as a holiday or special day of observance.

To celebrate the important holiday, the Mississippi Grassroots Movement and Nitsua Sound & Productions are presenting a Juneteenth Family Reunion at the Blue Mountain Park Saturday, June 19, beginning at 3 p.m.

“This is a community-wide event,” continued Colom. “We are inviting everybody to come out and celebrate Juneteenth. We are asking people in Ripley and surrounding areas to come out and join the fun. There will be different food vendors from local restaurants and food trucks. We will also have apparel vendors from some of the local boutiques as well as one of our local authors. There will be lots of fun, food, and games for the entire family.”

Some vendors present will be The “G” Spot, Addictive Inches, Tooth Glam, author Lori Story, Herbalife Nutrition, It’s a Vibe, Sassy Creations, Transparent Tracks, Fat Boi’s Kitchen, and The Bouncin’ Lillie. Vendor space is still available: $100 food vendors, $50 for all others.

“MSGM hopes that through this event, more people will become aware of the actual Independence Day for African Americans and the holiday will become more widely recognized and celebrated throughout the country,” said Colom.

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