WYOMING, Mich. — WYOMING, Mich. - The City of Wyoming is preparing to host its first-ever Juneteenth celebration.
“It’s really kind of emotional,” said Dana Knight.
Knight is a member of Wyoming’s community enrichment commission, which brings cultural and civic events to the area, and pushed the City this year to commemorate the holiday.
Juneteenth, or June 19th, commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned that they were free in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, more than two years after Confederate soldiers surrendered.
“What I’m trying to do is bring people who normally would not come together, to come together,” said Knight. “We’re hoping to have a multiracial group of people show up who get to have conversations and get to talk and share and hear and uplift Black stories, so that we can start coming together as a united front.”
A West Michigan native, Knight says growing up in the 1970s and 80s, Wyoming developed a reputation of being unwelcoming to Black people.
“It was 'make sure your car is right'; the police purposefully look for Black people because they know you’re not in that community and they’ll pull you over for anything,” said Knight. “It didn’t elicit fear in me, but it did elicit growing up caution.”
Knight says in addition to fellowship, Saturday’s event will offer food, art, and music. The focus is on a “teach-in,” which will address systemic issues Black Americans face.
It’s being held at Calvary Christian Reform Church and starts at noon.
Knight believes it’s an opportunity to make the area more inclusive.
“Say to yourself, ‘What can I do to make things better?’” said Knight.