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Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony held in Niagara Square

It's the 48th Juneteenth celebration in Buffalo. It's also the third year Juneteenth will be acknowledge as a national and state holiday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's an exciting time of year for many people. It's Juneteenth's 48th celebration in Buffalo.

Representatives from the Juneteenth organization and elected officials kicked off celebrations Friday with a flag-raising ceremony in Niagara Square. Channel 2 asked people what Juneteenth means.

"It means we can celebrate the accomplishments of our ancestors," said the president of the Juneteenth festival, Marcus Brown.

Added Murray Holman, who is the head of security for Juneteenth: "It shows our bloodline of what we've been through. It shows our unity across the board."

RELATED ARTICLE: 48th Consecutive Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo

This year's motto is, "And still we rise," and the flag is flying freely. Given the challenges hitting our area — mass shootings and bad storms — Buffalo residents say they will not be defeated. 

"It goes beyond history, but how do we build our future? To be able to build our future, we have to know that we have the ability to build our future," Ryan Phillips said. 

The Pan-African flag, a symbol of Juneteenth, has three colors. Each color has a meaning. 

"Red, for the bloodshed in shackles. Black, for the people surviving our ongoing holocaust. Green, for the land," a Buffalo speaker said during the ceremony on Friday. 

Last year part of the building occupied by the organizers of the Juneteenth festival fell. Since then, the organization has been raising funds to rebuild it.

The president of the festival, Marcus Brown, said repairs are about to be underway, saying that it is "in phase one."

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