Northern Nevada Black Cultural Society reflects on Juneteenth, now recognized as a state holiday

Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 6:58 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - This year, Juneteenth became a state holiday, just two years after it was recognized on a federal level. June 19th serves as a reminder that it is not a day off, but a chance to acknowledge it as a day of freedom. Juneteenth provides an opportunity to reflect on the struggles and achievements of African Americans throughout history.

The Reno community is full of that rich history. From communities like Black Springs to looking at those who made an influence at a local and state level. We’ve seen Willie J. Wynn make an impact that lives on today. Wynn was the first African American to be a part of the governor’s cabinet in Nevada, and Bernice Matthews was the first African American woman to be elected to the Reno City Council and Nevada State Senate.

Now, those are just two of many in our community who have made the way for black people in our area. Today, several nonprofits and leaders continue to provide the means to bring people together.

The Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society made an effort to do just that in their Juneteenth celebration. They share the importance of having Juneteenth now as a recognized state holiday.

“Our history here is of progress, of determination, of change, and specifically of NNBCAS is education and awareness. We’ve wanted to give the community a hub, if you will, of all things black culture. This is a part of American history. This is vital,” said Jessica Vann, President of NNBCAS.

To learn more about supporting African Americans and others here in northern Nevada, a list of nonprofits and leaders in our community can be found below.

Black Wall Street Reno

Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society

The Black Community Collective

The Multicultural Center