Triangle residents call Juneteenth a reminder to educate oneself, a 'commitment to do better'

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Three-year-old Shiva might be a toddler, but her mom, Surena Johnson, said that's not too young to learn about the day the last of the enslaved in Galveston, Texas were set free in 1865.

"When you're raising your children in an environment like public schools, and they don't get the true history of their ancestors, you have to be the one to put that information in them from the beginning," said Johnson.

The Raleigh mom of four calls this Juneteenth a bittersweet reminder of why educating yourself is important. This comes day after President Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday, many call this move a victory.

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"Voter suppression laws are being passed and pushed through the Senate and House right now. We have to be alert of what's going on in our environment and we can't get caught up in information given to us. We have to do our own research," said Johnson.

UNC Chapel Hill student Greear Webb also had thoughts about the historic moment.

"To me, Juneteenth is a recognition to our past and also a commitment to do better," said Webb.

The rising senior distinguished himself as a young activist after the murder of George Floyd, joining other demonstrators in downtown Raleigh. Webb is double majoring in political science and African American studies.

Currently, he is interning in Washington D.C. with a firm encouraging investment in black-owned businesses.

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This Juneteenth is taking on a new meaning for him.

"America struggles so greatly with its commitment to justice and equity. We are going to have to continue to raise our voices. We are going to have to continue to push our leaders to recognize achievements of African Americans and of all in this country that have resisted in the name of justice, freedom and opportunity," said Webb.
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