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Midland celebrates Juneteenth

District Two Representative John Norman and Mayor Patrick Payton lead parade
Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 1:49 AM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Juneteenth is a celebration of slaves being freed when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865, two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freeing all slaves in the United States.

District Two Representative John Norman and City of Midland Mayor Patrick Payton at Juneteenth celebration
District Two Representative John Norman and City of Midland Mayor Patrick Payton at Juneteenth celebration

Residents gathered in Midland to celebrate Juneteenth as District Two Representative John Norman and City of Midland Mayor Patrick Payton led the parade in celebrating this special day.

“With the climate right now, we needed to bring everyone together, you know, enjoy ourselves and have a good time,” District Two Representative John Norman said. “And celebrate something that’s very important to us and everyone involved. Mayor Patrick has been very supportive. I love the diversity that’s out here and we just want to continue to grow it and have it even bigger than when I was younger.”

While Juneteenth is normally celebrated on June 19, Mayor Payton feels celebrating Juneteenth is important.. Especially with the recent increase in awareness to racial injustices.

“We’re all going through so many things,” Mayor Patrick Payton said. “We’re learning how to relate to each other in different ways. What’s been special about today already is if you look around, just our community, people coming together, listening to each other, and having conversations. Learning to understand each other, and celebrate in new ways together.”

Juneteenth is the celebration of freedom. Residents such as Rich Garrett also say this celebration is about the pursuit of happiness, spreading knowledge, and self worth.

“What that means for us is the celebration of freedom,” resident Rich Garret said. “Let it be known that you are worth something, you’re somebody, and it’s okay to just be happy and celebrate in a fun, peaceful atmosphere. To literally spread knowledge and enlighten one another. Be kind. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to love yourself. I mean that. That’s what Juneteenth means to me, absolutely.”

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