OLATHE, Kan. — It’s been 158 years since enslaved African Americans were told they were free in Galveston, Texas. The federal holiday is celebrated June 19 and marks the end of slavery.

“There’s nothing to celebrate unless we recognize where we’ve come from and of course having a march is the best way to recognize things like the women’s suffrage movement and the civil rights movement when they wanted to make large scale community change, they held a march,” Linnaia Mckenzie, JOCO Advocacy Awareness Group, said.

Several groups are planning events to mark Juneteenth. There is a march and family friendly activities to educate the community about the holiday’s significance.

“The addition of all these events shows the commitment of our community to make sure that we are providing opportunities in many different places at many different times for the community to come and learn, ask questions, build bridges, hear stories,” Susan Mong, JOCO Superintendent of Culture, said.

Events will begin on June 10 and run through June 19 at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, PrairieFire, Harmon Park, and the Lenexa Civic Campus Commons. Events will include music, educational activities, and food from black-owned businesses.

“There’s more that brings us together than that separates us and it’s important that we come together and experience this together and educate because we want to get rid of some of the stereotypes of who you may think we are versus who we really are,” Nicole Buckner, JOCO Women of Purpose, said.

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners also plans to announce a proclamation honoring Juneteenth during a meeting later this week.

For a full list of this year’s Juneteenth activities, visit jocogov.org/Juneteenth.