LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Hundreds of people gathered in Lexington to celebrate Juneteenth for the first time since it was recognized as a federal holiday.
Organizers said although they've held this festival for years, 2022 goes beyond the federal holiday.
"We are here not that it's been named a federal holiday just like it was before it was named a federal holiday. To gather in community in honor of our ancestors who fought for our freedoms in order for us to be free from chateau slavery," explained organizer Sarah Williams.
People of all races came out to recognize enslaved African Americans' freedom and contribution to American history.
"If it wasn't for the emancipated American freedmen. This country would not exist. It would be a formal confederacy," said organizer M.L. Young.
"It is because of Americans that were brought here from the motherland Africa and enslaved that America is the country that it is today."
Two organizations 'Fish and Feed' and 'Brown Owl' also handed out free meals to people in need.
"We caught as much fish as we could, and I immediately cleaned them and we cooked them, and we are passing them out to anybody that needs a meal," said Fish and Feed founder Ricky Bottoms.
As they gave away over 60 meals, volunteers called for more support from minority communities.
"I noticed that minority communities in every city were underserved so I wanted to do something about that while also giving back," said 'Brown Owl' founder Thomas Phillips.
Donations for 'Fish and Feed' can be sent to the Cash App $Marleycart31.
Donations for 'Brown Owl' can be sent to $BrownOwl63.