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Wawa's Welcome America Event Kicks Off With Juneteenth Celebration

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Juneteenth was celebrated across the country Saturday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. It was also the kick-off day for Wawa's Welcome to America event in Philadelphia.

"I feel great, I really do," Organizer Bill Johnson said.

It's a sentiment shared by thousands as people all across the city of brotherly love celebrate Juneteenth.

In Center City, Black Music City honored the day the last slaves learned of their freedom by giving black artists a platform to create in comfort.

"It's a celebration of black culture, going back to Juneteenth that's when we all free we were free to choose free to express ourselves free to create," Johnson said.

Their ancestors' wildest dreams, the event included artistry of all kinds including music, photographs, paintings, and more.

"I think this event happening today on Juneteenth is just such a representation of our liberation, and when I think of our liberation as a people I think of creativity," artist Kyra Williams said.

Over at the African American Museum and City Hall, the Wawa Welcome America event showcased an expansion of their yearly festival to include Juneteenth.

Their program explored the historical significance and ties between June 19th and July 4th.

"This is how society evolves. We gotta recognize our past in order to move forward and if we don't acknowledge things we are not acknowledging who we are as a people and how we got to where we are right now," Johnson said.

Many people CBS3 spoke with Saturday say making Juneteenth a federal holiday was a start, but there's still more work to be done.

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