Juneteenth celebrations take place in Wichita

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 7:10 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Last week, President Joe Biden signed the measure into law to make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday. That made it the nation’s 11th annual Federal Holiday. Here in Kansas festivities have been going on since the beginning of June.

For hundreds of people in Wichita, June 19 was a day of celebration.

“There is no shortage of vendors food celebration, the biggest takeaway is building community and getting to know folks as well as getting educated on what Juneteenth is,” said Danielle Johnson.

Danielle Johnson is the Chair for Juneteenth ICT and said this year they added another stage, and new events. One of those events was the first Carl Brewer Cookoff, to honor the former Mayor. His kids say there’s no better way to remember their dad, one year after he died.

“This was truly a passion of his smoking meat, and socializing with the community. This is what he loved more than anything,” said his son Carlo Brewer.

“He had his own sauce and that was his passion he loved to say hey I am the best and he always challenged everyone to be part of it,” said his daughter Carol Brewer.

The winner of the cookoff won $500, a trophy, and title of best cook.

The Wichita Black Nurses Organization continued its effort in getting more people vaccinated, offering shots Saturday.

“I feel it is important because we are doing a two for one, we are representing our culture, we are representing Juneteenth so this in itself is great. But in another sense we are saying come get your shot, get vaccinated, get protected from COVID-19 so you can be here in 2022 for COVID-19 how are about that,” said Registered Nurse Margaret Thompson.

Through all the festivities and Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday - Johnson said there’s still progress to be made.

“Education is important, we have to make sure people understand the truth. We also need movement. We have to have equity in our policies, and the ability for affordable housing, and the ability to get a job, and create community. That is really what matters, what are you going to do to move and make action to policy and legislation and the work we do everyday,” said Johnson.

Johnson said Juneteenth Events continue through Friday, June 25 with the BuyICT Market.

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