CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Juneteenth celebrations filled the weekend.
The holiday is to celebrate the end of slavery, but the holiday weekend means a lot more this year for many reasons.
The heart of Plaza Midwood is where the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas had one of the biggest turnouts for the holiday in its 23 years.
Black Lives Matter protests have helped to bring awareness to the celebration and some people say that’s a good thing.
It’s not typically taught in schools, but Black History and Black culture have a newfound spotlight because of the 20 plus days of protests in Charlotte. There were a lot of first-timers trying to learn more about the holiday and get the full-on experience of the food, art and music.
“It’s amazing. It’s been a long three weeks and now people can come out and celebrate what Juneteenth is all about,” said Greg Martinez, one man celebrating Juneteenth for the first time.
“I didn’t even know about my own history,” said Moriah Terry.
This year’s parties are more than just about having fun.
The fight for equality and justice also remains at the forefront.
Now that more people know about the holiday and are reflecting on history, some are hoping this helps move the movement forward for real change.
“I honestly and wholeheartedly hope so,” Terry said.
“People are taking the extra steps to have conversations and I think opportunities like this provide the space to do that,” said Michelle Brady, another person celebrating Juneteenth.
Several Black business owners say they’ve also seen more support since protests started and during Juneteenth weekend.