MILWAUKEE — Powerful words were spoken Friday morning as members of the Milwaukee community gathered to watch the Juneteenth flag rise above the city.
The red and blue flag with a white star in the middle is now flying high, symbolizing a new freedom for Black Americans across the country.
"One of the things that we have to do is pay homage to those who came before us," said Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.
Friday's ceremony was just one of numerous Juneteenth events being celebrated throughout Milwaukee. The events will both celebrate and educate people about June 19th, 1865, the day when slaves finally learned that they were free nearly two years after the emancipation proclamation was signed.
"It's so important to know your history, know where you come from," said Betty Hill.
This is the third year the city has held the event to kick off the celebration of "Freedom Weekend."
Across town, Marquette University held its first in-person Juneteenth celebration where students and families came together to honor the Black culture through singing, dancing, poetry, and more.
"Me being an African-American going to a predominately white school, this right here shows that they do care about diversity and people that look like me," said Ronisha Love, a graduate student at Marquette.
"For Marquette campus to step out of their comfort zone and bring something like Juneteenth into their campus is super dope," said Diamond Thompson, the district team manager for Safe & Sound.
The events made it a day the community won't forget.
"We're often families that become last, and this day we become first," said Thompson.
The City of Milwaukee will continue its Juneteenth celebrations this Sunday during its annual Juneteenth Day Parade along MLK drive. You can watch the parade live on TMJ4. Coverage begins at 9 a.m.
The Juneteenth flag was also raised over the Wisconsin State Capitolon Friday for the third year in a row.