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Neighbors explain what Juneteenth means to them as the holiday approaches

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 14, 2024
  • Video shows the north Omaha Juneteenth Parade, UNO and ONE dance group.
  • Neighbors across Omaha share the importance of Juneteenth and what they plan to do celebrate the federal holiday.
  • The Juneteenth was first celebrated in Texas, where on June 19 in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, enslaved people were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.


Juneteenth also known as June 19th the holiday marks the day in 1865 troops arrived to tell enslaved people in Galveston, Texas that they were free. In north Omaha where this weekend the community is coming to together to celebrate the now federal holiday.

In this neighborhood, Juneteenth has a different meaning for everyone.

"This country belongs to everyone… its apart of American history…its part of the history of the united States," said Dr. Robinson.

Dr. Cynthia Robinson is the chair of the black studies department at UNO the only university in Nebraska with a black studies department.

She says the day is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about their neighbors.

"Every person to understand what Juneteenth is what it's about it's open… its inclusive," said Robinson.

Ka'yana Strong and Ty'ara Marhsall are both on ONE Dance team.

"If it wasn't for them… we would be here right now…. So freedom… so freedom for us," said Ty'ara Marhsall

"To me it's like celebrating the black people that fought for us… to get us to a better place… like we are today," said Ka'yana Strong

Iesha Phelps, the owner and Director of the ONE team says this weekend…is all about giving back.

"Pay homage to our fellow ancestors…. they've put in work for us… now we put in work for them," said Phelps.

Phelps says many of her students come from neighborhoods where systemic barriers can stand in their way. She wants her studio to be a place where dancers find their voice and learn to support each other.

"Become one and become a family especially where they come from a lot of our comes from a place none of want to be at," said Phelps.

This neighborhood is ready to celebrate Juneteenth in many different ways like art work, music and food.

On Saturday ONE will be one of the many groups participating in the Juneteenth parade that's going to come just through here at 24th and lake.