NORWOOD, Ohio — The City of Norwood celebrated its first Juneteenth National Independence Day on Saturday, one year after Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday.
Organizer Virginia Patterson has lived in Norwood for more than 30 years and wanted to leave the community better than she found it. For that reason, Patterson has been working on Norwood Juneteenth for a year and lead the movement to get Norwood to commemorate Juneteenth for the first time.
"I am going to feel unified in my community," Patterson said. "I feel like I’m trying to leave the community better than I found it which is very important for all of us to do as American citizens and what we can do as a nation to bring us all together."
The city's resolution to make June 19, Juneteenth Independence Day, passed back in May.
Patterson is also on Cincinnati's Juneteenth committee.
Juneteenth doesn't only mean lots to Patterson, but she also believes it holds a level of important not only nationally but internationally.
“(It means) freedom for our nation," Patterson said. "It means everyone coming together throughout various cultures and even on a national level, international level that we’re all coming together and we’re not forgetting where we come from."
Patterson said she received a lot of support from the community, and she hopes this becomes an annual event in Norwood.
"It’s been a very big effort to put on Norwood Juneteenth. We received a lot of support from the mayor, city council and community members," Patterson said.
Saturday was the last day of Norwood's celebration. The city held a flag raising ceremony and the resolution will be read followed by a pool party later Saturday evening.