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Vernon celebrates black history with 5th annual Juneteenth celebration

VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — Though it wasn’t on June 19, the fifth annual Vernon Juneteenth celebration still brought the whole city together.

Vernon police and firefighters joined the festivities by participating in games put on by the Juneteenth Committee. Norris Thomas, a senior advisor of the committee, hopes that Vernon’s Juneteenth can continue to grow after Saturday’s great turnout.

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“It’s very exhilarating and it’s encouraging,” Thomas said. “Exhilarating because we’ve grown bigger and bigger every year. Encouraging, saying that the sky’s the limit. I think that we will become the icon for Juneteenth celebrations in Texoma.”

While people socialized and tailgated around Christine Lyday Park, there were speakers from the Juneteenth Committee talking about the purpose and origins of Juneteenth, from the holiday’s beginnings as the anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to the celebration of black history and culture that it is today.

The history was demonstrated on the t-shirts worn by Dametrius Murray and the rest of the Juneteenth Committee.

“The shirt is ‘resilient in achievement,’ and I think that speaks for itself, you know,” Murray said. “As where black people come from is out of hard times and everything we have been through; we still are resilient and achieving at this moment.”

In the same way that Juneteenth celebrates black history, it also stresses the importance of staying together as a community. Charles McArthur spoke about the history of North Vernon, and he hopes the celebration today can help revive what was once a thriving part of the city.

“You can’t beat this, everybody having a good time. You ain’t hearing nobody cussing, you ain’t hearing nobody out fighting. We just having a good time just celebrating June 19. That’s it,” McArthur said.

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