MASON CITY, Iowa - Juneteenth was remembered at a cookout at Mason City's Monroe Park on Friday afternoon.
"Black lives matters means black joy matters. So that is why I am out here, that is what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to dance, I'm trying to make people feel happy," said Tahmyrah Lytle.
There was dancing and plenty of music, just like any cookout at the park. But the message is clear, Black Americans want a day to celebrate their history and culture.
"After everything that's happened recently and considering our harrowing past that's happened in this country, that we deserve to celebrate something, that we deserve to have a day that we can feel joyful," said Lytle.
Brandon McGriff, like many at the cookout, would like to see Juneteenth become a federally recognized holiday. He says we celebrate our freedom from the British, so African-Americans would like to celebrate their freedom from slavery.
"The fact that we're talking about whether or not there should be a day where black people were liberated from it's own white people and it's own country. Yeah, we need our federal holiday, we actually should have had it you know," said McGriff.
The solution is clear to the people commemorating the day. The country needs to start discussing race relations more. Couturie Sublett says racism still exists, but in more subtle ways.
"It's not the forties, it's not the fifties, it's not the sixties. It's not as blunt and in your face, but it's still there and you can see it, but we don't actually talk about it," he said.