The Juneteenth flag was raised over the Fitchburg City Hall in honor of the holiday on June 16th. Community members, city officials, and city workers joined Fitchburg Mayor Julia Arata-Fratta and Fitchburg Senior Center staff in support.
Juneteenth marks an important day in history as enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, years after the Emancipation Proclamation was given. The occasion has been celebrated since as a commemoration of freedom, and the continued fight for equality and equity.
“In June we recognize the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery, and to honor the strength, endurance, and faith of African American ancestors,” said Arata-Fratta. “It is imperative that residents in Fitchburg and across the state continue to work toward a more just Wisconsin.”
Fitchburg Senior Center has played a large role in helping with Juneteenth celebrations, including a gathering that took place shortly after the flag-raising. Office Manager Suzie Jones has been a large part of making past Juneteenth celebrations in Fitchburg a reality, and this year was no different as she prepared words for just how much it has meant to her.
“Juneteenth is the longest-running Black holiday celebrated for over 150 years throughout the US,” Jones said. “To me, it marks a day of fun with family, friends, community, loud music, and plenty of good food and dancing. I have been celebrating Juneteenth with my family for over 30 years, and this year is even more special as the city acknowledges Juneteenth as a city-wide holiday.”
Jones also thanked diversity and inclusion city committee members as well as the Senior Center staff for helping her organize celebrations for the past three years. The Juneteenth flag joined the Pride and City of Fitchburg flags and pictures a pair of hands breaking free from restraints.