Black-owned businesses a focus of Green Bay Juneteenth celebration
Friday, Green Bay and the rest of the nation celebrated Juneteenth, which has gained recognition and support after recent protests.
Juneteenth -- or June 19th -- commemorates the freeing of slaves in Texas in 1865, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and it finally marked the end of slavery in the United States.
Numerous states and companies have made Juneteenth an official paid holiday, and this year, for the first time, a Juneteenth flag flew over the Wisconsin Capitol.
One of many Juneteenth celebrations was held Friday at Perkins Park in Green Bay.
One word we continued to hear when talking with people was "solidarity," and that's a lot of what we saw throughout the day.
People from different racial backgrounds came together to celebrate this holiday by dancing, eating, playing sports or just socializing.
"When I see my people come together, expressing themselves, telling their truths, holding each other close as we breathe, that is beautiful to me," Stephanie Ortiz of Black Lives United said.
We saw a Green Bay police officer do the cha-cha slide with people, and a few folks jumping rope on the sidelines.
Event organizers believe this celebration was needed this year more than ever.
"The day is particularly significant because right now we're seeing the world like uprising, so this national uprising is happening in response to the death of George Floyd," Robin Tinnon with Black Lives United said.
One woman told us she came out to learn about the black community and show her support after recent events.
"I felt an urge to really come and support and learn and educate, meet new people. With everything going on in the world and in our states I just felt like it's a time to kind of stand up and support the people behind us, especially the black community," Panhia Lor said.
This event is significant for Green Bay because it's raising awareness and taking a stand against systemic racism.
It's also an event Black Lives United has used to promote black-owned businesses in the area.
Business owners tell us it's important for the community to know they exist.
Some of them are new business owners in the community using this as an opportunity for exposure to showcase their products.
"This is a predominantly white community, and so for them to know that there are leaders, there are people who are entrepreneurs, and to be able to have exposure in such a setting like this is important, especially as a black-owned business," Brittany Bell, co-founder of God's Purpose Apparel, said.
"I'm honored to be here, really. I love cooking. I put my heart and soul into it. I want to do it for the rest of my life," Tinisia Campbell, owner of Sea Soul Kitchen, said.
There was also a focus on kids to show that they are the heart of their community. One event had kids dip their hands in paint to help create a tile that will go in a heart-shaped mural.
"We want to boost Black economy here, so we're going to have a lot of small businesses lined in this parking lot selling their products as they're starting to do right now," said organizer Dajahnae Williams.
Organizer Stephanie Ortiz said, "It makes me have a moment of feeling free, right? When I see my people come together, expressing themselves, telling their truths, holding each other close as we grieve. That is beautiful to me."
The Juneteenth celebration goes until 7 p.m. at Perkins Park.
to learn more about Black Lives United and the Juneteenth celebration.