FLORENCE, Miss. (WJTV) — It’s a historic day for African Americans all over the United States as Juneteenth is acknowledged.
One family in Florence, the Stevensons, decorated their front yard with signs honoring the names of African Americans who have been killed as a result of racism. It also contained motivational messages.
“We’re able to celebrate a day of our emancipation as free people,” Dwayne Stevenson said. “We have to have something of our own at this point. I know we celebrate July 4th all the time but that’s for America, and we were never seen as American people.”
Tiffany Williams, a friend of the Stevensons explained that this Juneteenth, other than the first one, is the most significant one yet.
“Juneteenth this year is really really important,” Williams said. “We’re trying to shed light on police brutality and systematic racism and everything like that and just bringing a light to that along with juneteenth and allowing people to not forget.”
Some of the names on this display are the names of people who were recently killed such as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery or George Floyd of course, but some of the names go all the way back to 1955, like Emmet Till.
Stevenson’s daughter, Treasure, said that this holiday, is equally happy as it is sad.
“When you look at it the feeling that I want you to have is the empowerment,” Stevenson said. “[And] the somber feeling to go with it so you understand where we’ve been, what we’re still going through and that the possibility of change and we can go forward and change is possible.”
The Stevensons and Williams said raising awareness is one of the most important things they can accomplish.
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