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Civil rights activists say the work to racial equality is still ongoing amidst Juneteeth celebrations

"This is 2021, we're still having many of the same issues that we've had when it comes to systemic racism," said President Allen of the Harrisburg NAACP.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Juneteenth celebrations are occurring all throughout the Commonwealth and country.

The day of remembrance has become even bigger with President Biden signing the holiday into law earlier this week.

Though many are taking part in the celebrations, Rev. Dr. Franklin E. Hairston-Allen, president of Greater Harrisburg's NAACP, says there is so much meaning behind the day.

"Slavery was bitter, it was mean, it was confrontational, it was depressive," said Allen.

Some Juneteenth events may include cookouts and other enjoyable activities, but Allen says there is much more work that needs to be done to fully understand the day's significance.

"America has a lot of holidays, but there's a disparity when it comes to employment," said Allen, "there's a racist system in the United States, last hire, first fire."

Joseph Robinson Jr., of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Development Institute, adds there is a level of doubt in support as current voting laws are being considered to be changed.

"It's a little duplicitous to celebrate Juneteenth and your freedom but then, on the other hand, do everything we can to restrict your access to the vote," said Robinson.

Allen hopes holidays like Juneteenth encourage all people to learn about American history even the history that is not taught in school.

He says understanding events like the Tulsa Massacre and monument projects such as the Toni Morrison bench in Harrisburg can bring a level of understanding to the trials many have had to face in history.

"I think there needs to be a commitment to some written data, passed in the community where there can be more clarity in the understanding of the history to the date," he said.

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