Lufkin's Juneteenth Celebration ushers in new association

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Juneteenth Celebration in Lufkin Saturday included groups from all over the community, but the newest group was actually responsible for organizing the event.

And, that group, called the Juneteenth Association, is a combination of new and older generations.

The younger generation are focused on learning the position only recently vacated by the community's older generation.

"We're trying to bridge the gap between the older generation and the younger generation," said association member, Kelly Follie.

For 20 years, the Friendship Social Club was responsible for organizing Juneteenth celebrations and other black history events.

"When it first started out we were just small, just a group," said former club member, Ivice Ford.

The group's bylaws required them to break up. But, the traditions and the knowledge these members held is still wanted by the current community.

"How our forefathers came and worked through slavery to get educated," said association member, Sydney Benemon.

The Juneteenth Association paired newer, younger members of the community with the surviving leaders of the Friendship Social Club.

"They're guiding us through," Follie said.

Even those not involved with the passing of the torch see the benefits it brings.

"It's just a passing of the mantle to keep the legacy going," said community member, Ivorie Ford.

Saturday's celebration was the association's first move as a group.

And, it's members are clear on their mission.

"It's up to the younger generation to keep Juneteenth alive," Benemon said.

The association plans on hosting events, like the Juneteenth Celebration, during black history month.

The association is also officially applying as a non-profit organization.

Members say they're hopeful this classification will allow them to receive grants to help their efforts in the community.

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