We spoke with the Government Affairs Liaison for the mayor’s office in Fort Smith, Jurena Storm, and she says this is something they’ve been working towards for a while. But when they heard the news that President Joe Biden was making Juneteenth an official holiday, they had to pull out all the stops.
“Do you know how you have a dream in your life, and it would be so great if it could happen? This is the manifestation of my dream,” said Storm.
But Storm wasn’t the only one who told me they were living the dream. I ran into one eventgoer who told me the same thing.
“This is amazing. I know my grandmother, my grandfather, and all of them would be so happy, and I actually get to live it. Yeah, this is amazing,” said Latanya Towns.
Everyone we ran into said they couldn’t be happier. Fort Smith made this a public celebration, but the news of this being the first nationally recognized Juneteenth has made this even sweeter.
“I was in tears,” said eventgoer DesireeTowns. “This gives me hope not just for myself, but for my children and my children’s children that there is some sort of justice.”
It sure was hot out there, but it didn’t anyone from singing, dancing, playing games, and just having an all-around good time at what we’re told could be a new Juneteenth tradition.