ALTON - New Alton Mayor David Goins and Alton Police Chief Marcos Pulido were two of the stars of the show of the 30th annual Juneteenth Celebration in Alton.

Goins is the first black mayor in Alton's history. He had a powerful message for those in attendance during his presentation on the Juneteenth stage:

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"This is a great day," Mayor Goins said. "We have come out of a terrible storm with COVID and now being able to meet like we are meeting today, you know we took for granted hugging, we took for granted handshaking and we took for granted seeing people and being able to be together like this. Let's give the Lord a hand for this."

In his special Juneteenth proclamation, Goins said: "At 156 years old, Juneteenth is the oldest African American observance in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day and Juneteenth. In the year 1991, in the month of Juneteenth, in the City of Alton was founded by Joyce Elliott and Alton Branch of the NAACP Youth Council members. It commemorates the celebration of the freedom of African Americans first brought into the United States stacked in the bottom of slave ships.

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"Juneteenth commemorates the day freedom was brought to all slaves in the south on June 19, 1865, in Dallas, Texas, more than two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. And whereas President Biden has called on all Americans to observe Juneteenth as any other national holiday with family and community celebrations just like this. The Fourth of July and Juneteenth complete America's celebrations for its independence."

Chief Pulido said he thought this past Saturday's Juneteenth in Alton was "an amazing celebration."

"It was beyond an exceptional community event that not only created relationships but strengthened our other relationships," he said. "I loved how our community came together to celebrate."

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