KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City community came out to The Hope Center's Juneteenth celebration on Saturday.
People of all ages and races attended including Camille Moore, member of The Hope Center's leaders in training, who says Juneteenth is more than just a holiday.
“It makes me feel so freeing,” she said.
Marvin Daniels, The Hope Center's executive director and CEO, helped put on the event alongside his wife Angie, the center's senior program director.
“The freedom that our ancestors fought for is the freedom that we continue to fight for, and in order for us to reach flourishing, there has to be a collaborative event to do so," Marvin Daniels said.
He says feeling free can be achieved through song, dance and creativity.
“That freedom has to be sustained, and it's sustained by us doing several different things. That is us really being influencers and us really impacting so that they can actually know the opportunity to be free,” Angie Daniels said.
For the younger crowd like Moore, there is a deeper understanding of what it means to be free.
“Freedom as in us being able to express ourselves, freedom as in people being able to show up today, coincides with Juneteenth for me because it is when we were freed from slavery," Moore said. "It's when we celebrated that, it's when we tried to figure out what was next.
"Organizations that’s trying to figure out what’s next for people. When I see people selling things, I'm seeing young people figure out what’s next for them, in their life, and how they are going to grow their business, etc. People showcasing their talents, how that’s going to take them farther in life.”
Juneteenth KC Festival organizers also wished to communicate a message of hope, possibility and prosperity to those lined down 18th and Vine.
“So having the opportunity to have a festival, to celebrate it, puts it on the minds of everybody and gets everyone talking about what actually Juneteenth is, why it’s important that we celebrate it as a nation, as a culture, as a people period, and hopefully they can pick up some of that,” said Natasha Fuller, parade coordinator.
Marvin Daniels envisions such events encouraging youth within the community to inspire others to come together to learn and grow from the past, stepping into a new and redesigned future.
"The way to really celebrate Juneteenth the way we have to do that is to make sure we're really lifting people up,” he said.