The community celebrates the 1st Juneteenth event organized by the city

BEAUMONT, Texas — Texans came together this weekend to celebrate freedom as the events of June 19 unfolded across the state.

June 16 marks the day in 1865 when Union troops marched on Galveston to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, officially freeing the last enslaved black Americans in Texas.

The Town of Beaumont hosted its first organized event on Main Street. Many members of the community went to the Sunday celebration.

Community members expressed how great it was to come together to celebrate the holiday and recognize the sacrifices many of their ancestors made for their freedom.

“It’s a celebration of African-American freedom,” Beaumont Mayor Robin Mouton said. “It’s a Texas holiday, but it’s celebrated all over the United States.”

Related: ‘We were free’ | Southeast Texans explain why Juneteenth matters, what it means to them

Juneteenth has a special meaning for the mayor of Beaumont.

“I was elected a year ago, on June 16, as the first African-American woman mayor of this city,” Mayor Mouton said.

Mayor Mouton expressed how great it was to see people from all over Southeast Texas show up for the downtown celebration. For her, it is important to keep in mind the true meaning of Juneteenth.

“To honor a group of people who have contributed so much to this country,” said Mayor Mouton.

Community members are thrilled to be able to carry on the legacy of those who were freed over 150 years ago.

“In that fateful time when people found out they were free in Galveston, Texas, it meant so much to everyone because then they had rights,” said Beaumont resident Steve Jackson. “They could go shopping where they wanted to shop and do things they couldn’t do in the past. »

Mayor Mouton encouraged more states to honor Juneteenth as a holiday.

“I’m very, very excited,” said Mayor Mouton. “I’m so happy with the turnout. We survived the rain.”

Mayor Mouton and members of the Beaumont community look forward to hosting this event for years to come.

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Joseph K. Bennett