BELTON, Texas — Juneteenth celebrations all over Central Texas remind everyone of the plight of Black Americans but also is a day of celebration and happiness.
Today in Belton, at the West Belton T.B. Harris School, a group of former students and other members of the Belton community celebrated Juneteenth in a special way.
They taught young people about the history of the school, sang songs and played games.
"I want my little grandson and his brother to know that yes, we're where we are because somebody fought to keep us here," Harris School grad Barbara Duckens said. "We've got to fight to keep things to teach, letting us know of our rich history, telling our history and being proud of it."
"Not only is this a celebration for African Americans, but it should be a celebration for the whole city of Belton," Vicki Sargent-Perez said, sitting next to her mother Rena who is a member of the Harris School class of 1944. "To recognize that okay, we see you, we understand you. And we're not asking people to apologize. We're not asking people to feel bad about what happened. But we want them to feel grateful along with us that we got here from whence we came."
The event organizers all said that they want people to remember this history because so many people think the racism they experienced happened so long ago. In reality, they're living proof that this didn't happen as long ago as we think. They lived it and they're working their hardest to end it.
Juneteenth is not just another holiday or another day out of the office, but rather a chance to celebrate and learn.
"We've come out even stronger, you know, recognizing even now that we have to put extra care into teaching our children," Patricia Nelson, daughter of Noah Nelson said. "Teach them that everyone matters, and I feel like we have come a long way. Our children can be whatever they want to be. It doesn't matter what color, race, creed, anything you can achieve if you apply yourself."
As the years go on, and we lose more people who were apart of the injustices we learn about, it becomes that much more important to educate others, or else we cannot truly advance.
"Our history is very important," Sargent-Perez said. "Young people especially our young black kids, need to know our history because as we've seen if you don't know your history, you're destined to repeat it."