LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Just two days after Dylann Roof opened fire inside of an historically black church in Charleston, members of the Deep East Texas community came together to celebrate not only black empowerment and freedom from slavery, but overall unity in a country so divided.
"To show love. As we know the shooter wanted to divide us, start a war, but it's the time for the community and everyone to come together and show love…and love conquers all," said Lufkin Councilman Robert Shankle.
People young and young at heart joined members of the Friendship Social Club in honor of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery. It's the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, but with racial-charged crimes like the one in South Carolina, many are left to question, how far has our nation really come? Shankle said despite overcoming great adversity, there's still work to be done.
"I would like to see more dialogue and people to come together and trying to make one common goal and the common goal is to show love, come together, and work together," Shankle said.
Music, food, and dancing are how East Texans at Brandon Park honored black history and it's something Randy Horn is truly proud to be a part of.
"It's a blessing to see, with so much going on, to see people come out and not be worried about the issues that we have going on," said Randy Horn, the Friendship Social Club president.
It's a celebration that took on new urgency in this time of adversity.
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