BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Over the weekend, Baton Rouge hosted several Juneteenth celebrations in the Capital Area.

For many Black Americans, June 19 has been long associated with homegrown community celebrations. These gatherings were exactly what took place Sunday, at The Juneteenth Experience.

“It’s just all about coming together, having that pride in yourself, in your heritage, and in your skin. We are beautiful people and we deserve to be here,” said Brelin McKneely, owner of MAD GLOH.

Sunday, June 19 marks the day in 1865 that a Union Army Major rode into Galstveon, Texas to tell enslaved African Americans that they were finally free. A year ago it became a federal holiday, celebrating this freedom.

“It’s a reminder to honor our culture as well as those who have came before us,” explained Elise Gipson.

Event coordinator, Elise Gipson, said the goal was to shed light on Black History and the accomplishments of Black Americans.

“Shining a light on the impact that we have as Black people in every industry from fashion to music, sports, and the entire world,” said Gipson.

Many vendors agreed that the experience was more than celebrating Juneteenth, but also afforded an opportunity to promote products, services, and lifestyles that contribute to Black excellence.

“Explain to other black girls like me that we deserve products that cater to our, to us. You know that have natural ingredients,” explained Trinity Hicks, owner of Majestic Curly Curls.

Owner of Golden Vegan, Neshia Rowe said, “Just because like you said, the many diseases that, you know, we deal with and by not eating as much meat and limiting our meat intake it can significantly help decrease those diseases.”

Every vendor and participant wanted to celebrate the day, the culture, and share a united message: Happy Juneteenth, Baton Rouge.