YORK, Pa. — Juneteenth celebrations in Gettysburg started with a history lesson.
"It's our job as community to educate our community. We don't always have to wait for schools to do it," said Blessing Shahid, the organizer of Juneteenth in Gettysburg.
From the historical first black church in the city, the first black school house, to the Lincoln Cemetery where the enslaved where buried.
"Juneteenth is in a sense black people independence, so we stand on that and we want to celebrate that and show the world that now matter how hard to diminish us, now matter how hard they try to put black people in the background that we're going to continue to move forward and we're going to continue to deliver the truth that was given to us. And that's being black and being proud of being black," said Anthony Johnson, who attended Juneteenth celebrations in Gettysburg.
The celebrations then moved to the Gettysburg area recreation authority where people got to enjoy food, music, and activities.
Union Lutheran church in York has been celebrating Juneteenth for the last three years. However, this year is extra special.
"It's wonderful for us to be able to celebrate for us now as a national holiday the celebration of Juneteenth and for us as a congregation inclusion is very important," said Pastor Joel Folkemer of Union Lutheran Church.
For some community members, this day more than a celebration it's a reflection.
"I'm witnessing with my own eyes, my ancestor's dreams come true. I am my ancestor's wildest dreams and I'm like living in the midst of it," said Shahid.
And although there is a lot of work left to be done, some community members say we are moving in the right direction.
"We are so far from where we want to be, but i do see progress, so I just ask that everybody as a whole and as a community come together and just love each other as community." said Johnson.