PHOENIX — Juneteenth became a federal holiday on Thursday after President Joe Biden signed legislation into law.
The holiday marks the day that the last enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned of their freedom -- which came two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
There are at least a dozen Juneteenth celebrations, events, and festivals planned across the Valley over the next few days. View our list of Juneteenth celebrations.
One of those is the "Day of Freedom" at the Salvation Army's Tempe campus. That event will be held on Saturday, June 19, from 7 am. - 3 p.m.
"We're doing this as a day to bring a collective effort from the community to improve one's mental health, and that's what it's about," said Kyle Parker, who owns Clipdart, a mobile barber and hair styling business, and one of the event's organizers.
Its mission is to help those in need. Parker said Juneteenth was a perfect day for that.
"So, how do you exemplify freeing the minds of people through the world? You give them as many services as possible as they can think of as much support as they can think of," he said.
The event will have some 150 volunteers and 20 nonprofits and organizations offering various services, including COVID-19 vaccinations, shows, clothes, food, haircuts, and entertainment.
"Coming together and just for the collective good of the community and opening up your mindsets to appreciating people for who they are versus who we think they should be, I think that's the core of this event," said Trevor Paxton, the director of development at Best Buddies Arizona, an organization that offers provides helps to create relationships and provide resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Leaders from some of the organizations told ABC15 they are happy to be a part of the event not only to provide their services but also to raise awareness about the significance of Juneteenth.
"In order for America to have diversity, inclusion, and equity in the country, why would we not celebrate a day where everyone was free?" said Parker.
"What is the importance of freedom and how does it apply to the modern state of our country in terms of diversity and inclusion? And making sure everyone understands their own history, and also what we need to do to move forward from that," said Lindsay Pacheco with ASU's Pitchfork Pantry.
"The opportunity to truly accept and teach all about diversity and how we can not only be a part of it but how to open it, welcome it with open arms," said Nicole Jastrab with the International Barber College. "We all -- no matter what industry you're with -- can always give back and make a difference in the world."
IF YOU GO:
Salvation Army Tempe
714 S Myrtle Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
7 a.m. - 3 p.m.