KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Friday, June 19 marks a special day in history for the African American community.
Juneteenth is the unofficial American holiday celebrating the proclamation that all enslaved people in the state of Texas and the United States were free as of June 19, 1865.
Members of the Kingsport community are commemorating the unofficial holiday with a Juneteenth Community Rally.
The rally will be held at Centennial Park Downtown at 5 p.m.
City officials are expected to speak along with a Kingsport Police Department representative.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has said the state will soon recognize the cultural holiday, but has not confirmed if it will be a state holiday or enshrined in state law.
Governor Lee is expected to sign the resolution regarding Juneteenth on Friday.
Pastors will be there to share a positive word and prayer during the Juneteenth Community Rally.
“This rally is put together to create a platform for us to come together, and what we want to know is what issues in our community do you feel like are being overlooked or being kind of brushed under the rug? What are you passionate about?” said one of the event organizers Keira Moore.
She said along with the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, issues like homelessness will also be discussed. A questionnaire will be handed out during the rally to ask citizens about ways and ideas to better the community.
Resources will be available for citizens to get involved with local government issues.
“A lot of these young kids who are coming to these rallies and it’s like, you’re not registered to vote, you haven’t filled out your census. Do you know how imperative that is to funding in your community? And then you have the groups who have been disenfranchised for past mistakes and they’re like ‘well I want to vote, but can I?’ So I’m going to kind of give them the guidelines that Tennessee has you go by and even Virginia cause we’re so close together,” said Moore.
You are asked to wear a mask or face covering to the event and properly social distance.
We will keep you updated throughout the day as this event unfolds.