BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Protestors were back and marching for unity and equality for all Saturday morning. This time, however, they also celebrated the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in America, also known as Juneteenth.
The goal was to shed light on injustice and to bring everyone together from all backgrounds, races, professions, and denominations.
“When I was a little younger in this area, I couldn’t go to the lunch counter in the restaurants, but to see us where we come from now, we come a long way, but we still got little ways to go. But just like today it’s beautiful seeing all people out here,” said Edward Zines.
They hoped to accomplish this through a peaceful protest and by building a strong relationship shared between citizens and law enforcement.
The protest began at 9 a.m. at Town Green and ended at the Biloxi City Hall, where prayer and worship took place.
“I believe if we all continue to work together and speak up for people who aren’t like us, and we all work together, then yes we can make a change,” said Caroline Thornton.
Mayor Andrew “Fofo” Gilich and Police Chief John Miller both acted as guest speakers. More than 100 people attended the march, with many of them expressing joy as they came together to take a step toward change.
“There’s no room for hate in Biloxi. There’s no room for discrimination of any kind, and there’s no room for injustice, period,” Gilich said.
Shaunita Bolden expressed that the protests and marches are steps toward change.
“We’re right now in the fire, but when we get through and we come out, we’re going to come out stronger, more unified, and if nothing else, all of these things that are happening is going to bridge some gaps and bring people together,” Bolden said.
The Juneteeth celebration continued at John Henry Beck Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where visitors learned more about the history of June 19 as well as receive information about the census and voter registration.
“The City of Biloxi has always sponsored Juneteenth every year. Our director Sherri Bell have always set aside a date for Juneteenth every year, and of course, with the things that are going on around the world and United States, it makes it extra significant for this time of year,” said Councilman Felix Gines.