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CHICO, Calif. -- Hundreds gathered today at Chico City Plaza to celebrate Juneteenth and we spoke to community members all around to see what it means to them.
“This means celebration, this means happiness, this means life, new beginning and togetherness. We're coming together from different places throughout California, and throughout the United States, and we're just here to fellowship and enjoy this good celebration,” said Marshon Jones, a common speaker at recent local events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Organizer Vince Haynie says, “We want people to come and celebrate diversity with us, come and celebrate our history, and come to continue protest police brutality.”
It’s a symbolic day for many.
“We never talked about Juneteenth in high school ever and like I will have to say that it's not a holiday specifically, but it is observed and everybody should recognize that it is the day that everyone realized we were free,” said Darrisha Daniel.
She added, “even though it wasn't the day of the emancipation… it's the day that everyone realized they were free.”
A celebration that's garnered more attention this year and from a diverse group willing to learn.
“It's people of all nationalities here to celebrate, and they know what it's about and they see what it's about only because of what we're going through in history right now,” said Donell Thomas.
The turnout was a big one. Haynie, who’s also a pastor, believes the community is heading in the right direction.
“We're in a great opportunity now in America for this America that we all believe in that everybody matters and all are inclusive so I say let's flow with it and let's celebrate diversity,” said Haynie.
He added, “Let's celebrate and stomp out racism and division. Let's celebrate one another because everyone wants to get to this country, even with all our problems, because there's so much diversity and there's opportunity here and we have to have a society that reflects the society.”
Scheduling conflicts between two different Juneteenth gatherings happened at the plaza today.
Despite tensions between some of the organizers earlier today both events remained peaceful.