Erie residents and business owners gather downtown to celebrate Juneteenth

Local News

It’s Juneteenth, and many people are celebrating the holiday in the City of Erie along the strips of State Street.

Here is what we heard from Erie’s black-owned vendors about the celebration of freedom.

There are 60 vendors out there showcasing their products and they said that today is all about coming together as a community.

The sound of vibrant music and the scene of dozens of residents gathering in celebration of Freedom Day, Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a holiday recognizing the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday is now a federal holiday that is taking place across the nation.

But Erie has always celebrated the freedom as many black business owners said the celebration is to also show their business is prospering.

“But I think most importantly Juneteenth celebration is a celebration of us being able to have opportunities and being able to grow as a community,” said Sondra Thompson, Owner of Krafts by Kamesha.

Many people said that this celebration is all about coming together as a family.

Both Dagangi and Thompson said that it has been recently hard for the community to come together, but they say the celebration has made business owners like them have a sigh of relief.

“We’re able to express our black culture that we create because you know our culture was taken away from us. So we had to basically make our own from scratch and I think this is a great way to showcase that,” said Kamesha Dagangi, Owner of Krafts by Kamesha.

Aside from business owners like Dagangi and Thompson, residents like Yasmin Ali who is originally from Somalia, Africa, came out to the celebration to teach her kids about the heritage.

“They don’t teach much about black history in the school so I feel like it’s our job as parents to teach our kids about our own heritage,” said Yasmin Ali, Resident.

The Juneteenth event is still going on until 7 p.m.

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