Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of African Americans, and is widely regarded as the oldest known celebration to the end of legal slavery in the United States.

When Juneteenth became a national holiday thats when everything started growing and getting larger,” Suzette Johnson said. “Were just so thankful for having a national holiday. Thats just a blessing.

The NAACP Greater Huachuca Branch held a Juneteenth event Monday for the community. The event focused on embracing culture and identity of all people through education, vendors and music. Vendors ranged from community organizations, to crafters who make African inspired clothing and jewelry.

“This is a celebration of our freedom and its just a time for everybody, not just people of color but everybody to come together at fellowship and be on one accord and love, Johnson said.

The events paid tribute to the African culture and traditions. One of the activities attendees were able to participate in was a balloon release ceremony in honor of their late family members. The groups went outside and released red, black, green and yellow balloons into the air in tribute to an ancestor.

City of Sierra Vista Mayor Clea McCaa read the proclamation at Monday’s event and was introduced as the city’s first African American mayor. He said he’s honored to have the title but serving all people is what matters just like Juneteenth celebrates all cultures.

Its an honor and a privilege just to be celebrating,” McCaa said. “Yes, Im the first African American mayor but Im the mayor for everybody all people, all cultures, all races. Its not a black thing, its not white thing. Its no color. Im the mayor for Sierra Vista.

The event concluded with a basketball tournament and football toss for the children.