AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF)- Sunday, many celebrate Juneteenth– a holiday that focuses on the freedom and history of African-American people.
The festival took place at the Augusta Common, but other parts of this town ache as it has seen two fatal shootings, all within three blocks in the past seven days, but a total of four in the Augusta area.
The city of Augusta feels every life lost, but today they were able to bring light to the true meaning of what community means.
“The call to action on Juneteenth is reach back and pull in one of these young folks– one of these young people who clearly needs the guidance, because again if we’re not, we’re letting our future disappear to the bullet,” District 1 Commissioner Jordan Johnson said.
Band of Brothers’ organizers says they put this festival together for people to feel like they have something to be a part of.
“And give, uh, people that look like myself, a venue. They didn’t have a venue and we support a lot of other things so we made a venue available and this is the outcome,” B.O.B. Member Herman O. King said.
Johnson feels that if there is a place for young teens to occupy their time, there’s a chance that fewer tragedies could happen.
“Come out here and invest in the community, invest in a young person because if you don’t invest in a mentor program or invest in a young person, we’re going to continue to see folks gunned down in the middle of the street. Having blood on the sidewalks in downtown is just wrong.”
But, despite the recent fatal events, residents say the Juneteenth Festival was just what the community needed.
“Cannot let one person stop us from coming together like Juneteenth– that brought us together today– all we can do is continue to show love and love will make a change,” Debra Campbell said.
This federal holiday represents freedom, justice, and a life filled with opportunity– Johnson says that’s exactly what needs to be done for Augusta’s people.
“And that’s what I want our call to action to be today. I spoke up there about the good things in the community, but I also said reach back and pull– it’s on us,” Johnson said.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying food, laughter, fun events for the children, and hope that just like things changed in 1865; they too will begin looking up.
“It is amazing that we can look back to where we came from a long ways back and our struggles and everything we went through. This is like where our ancestors have prayed for something like this. So, this is a glorious moment,” Teddy Moore said.
In the face of it all, locals feel that events like these bring the community together just a little closer.