As a proud member of the Concord community, it’s important to me to share my experience with the Juneteenth event hosted by Project S.T.O.R.Y at the Millbrook School. Juneteenth reminds us of the long struggle for freedom and equality faced by American Africans. It commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth helps us remember our history and encourages us to keep working for fairness and justice.

I am pleased that the Concord City Council has made Juneteenth Day a holiday for the city. I spoke at the Project S.T.O.R.Y. event and experienced it as a powerful, educational, and positive gathering. It was an honor to be joined by Mayor Byron Champlin, City Councilor Jim Schlosser, and NH Representatives Rebecca McWilliams and Jonah Wheeler. Yes, our community must celebrate Juneteenth, and we must do more than celebrate. We need to learn about the history of slavery and address ongoing issues like unequal access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities.

However, we also need to recognize that we have made improvements and continue to work together to promote a more welcoming community. As we celebrate Juneteenth in years to come, let’s honor the strength and spirit of those who fought for freedom and commit to building a fair and more just society for everyone.

Fisto Ndayishimiye