FAYETTE - The community of Fayette wrapped up their three-day celebration of Juneteenth Sunday. While the day just became recognized as a federal holiday, the celebration is nothing new to their community. Fayette has celebrated the holiday since the year 2000.
The national recognition of Juneteenth has played a big part in raising awareness of the day's importance. One of the long time coordinators of the event, Tim Jackman, said a lot of people still hadn't learned about June 19th.
"I'm still somewhat surprised," Jackman said. "People still to this day we're celebrating when they didn't know what Juneteenth was. If we can continue to educate people, which has always been one of our main objectives, I think it's just a blessing."
Keenon Chapman grew up in Fayette and was able to see the growth of Juneteenth first hand. A large part of that is due to Cherryll Doughty, who introduced the holiday to the area according to local residents.
"In 2000, a pastor of mine Pastor Doughty, came here and before, we didn't know anything about it and she came here and told us about it and it just blew up," Chapman said.
Doughty said she expects the day to keep growing from here.
"I think every year it's going to get larger and larger," Doughty said. "I look forward to next year getting bigger."
Both Doughty and Jackman agree, while this weekend was a positive step forward, there's still a lot more work to do.
"We've come so far," Jackman said. "The struggles not over yet, but it's just very gratifying on this Juneteenth weekend to have it announced just a few days ago that it was a national federal holiday."
"We are not fully there," Doughty said. "We have work and repair to do. We need better housing opportunities, educational curriculum inclusivity, police training and accountability."
Despite those challenges, Doughty said she's proud at the growing Juneteenth celebrations in Fayette.
"I'm honored to have been apart of birthing Juneteenth in Fayette," she said.