MILWAUKEE — Behind the doors of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society, a group of young Milwaukee leaders reminisce over their favorite Juneteenth day memory.
"Juneteenth is like a family reunion I'm seeing people I used to work with who I went to school with uncle Mac laugh," said Jacqueline Zeledon
From the first Juneteenth festival in 1971, to present, that love and joy has spilled over on King Drive for 49 years.
"We are a city of festivals and Juneteenth is a festival that allows you to go into the black community on King Drive. And see and celebrate all the things that make us great, celebrate our government officials the organizations and I call them giants," said state representative, David Bowen.
Organizers want to ensure the tradition continues and it's no easy lift.
"It's going to take reaching out to young professional groups and also towards our business community. We have some really big plans but we also need all hands on deck, not just volunteers but also funding," said Jacqueline Zeledon.
The future of Juneteenth Day looks bright if these Milwaukee leaders take the torch and lead the way.
"It is up to us as community leaders and black people, we got to teach the next generation about the importance of Juneteenth and how to get involved. They don't know what Juneteenth is about besides it just being a festival - they won't get engaged. [We] got [to] educate them on the importance of it and the significance of it and teach them how to grab that baton to move it forward," said state representative, Kalan Haywood Jr.