People from across Green Country are in historic Greenwood District taking part in Juneteenth celebrations. The Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce is throwing a block party this weekend in observance of what is now a federal holiday.
One vendor from out of state said Saturday is more than a celebration. It's a remembrance.
June 29, 2021, marks 156 years since Black Americans in Galveston, Texas received word that they were emancipated from slavery. However, 156 years later we're still hearing stories, in present day, of systemic racism.
"They're still being dehumanized, and we wanted to say with the past and the present not much has changed," activist and vendor Nadine Seiler said.
At the corner of Greenwood and Cameron just outside of the historic Vernon AME Church sits a fence plastered with posters and pieces of people's past.
"Lena Lucky, she's 75. Her mom was 17 at the time of the (Tulsa Race) massacre. Her dad was 30. Her mom had a miscarriage on May 31st, 1921," Seiler said.
Seiler traveled from the east coast to the Greenwood District for Juneteenth, bringing the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence with her.
Seiler goes from one community to the next finding fences and sharing stories. This week it was Tulsa's turn.
"We're here protesting, holding the community, trying to get people to put their voices on the fence," Seiler said.
Keely bought a shirt from Seiler.
"The shirt I just bought says 'freeish,'" Keely said. "Hopefully, it starts more of an open dialogue."
This is the first time Juneteenth is being observed as a federal holiday, something Keely believes is a step in the right direction.
"It was better late than never," Keely said.
As people in Tulsa reflect on Juneteenth, Seiler hopes people across the country remember what it took to get here and how far the nation still must go.
"It's more than a day," Seiler said.
Transformation Church pastor Michael Todd will conclude the events at 11 a.m. Sunday with a church service in the park on Greenwood.
For more information on the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce, click here.