VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Juneteenth has been a time of celebration for Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond long before it became a federal holiday.
Now, there’s more reason to celebrate.
"We can go about and say 'Happy Juneteenth' without someone saying, 'What are you talking about,'" said Ross-Hammond, standing on the ViBe Creative District Rainbow stage.
Ross-Hammond is the founder of the Virginia African American Cultural Center, a place equipped to celebrate and educate.
"It gives a lot of pride to young people, knowing their history. You cannot move forward if you don't know your history, that will create a path," said the music teacher and founder.
Ross-Hammond said that history is often expressed through music.
"Words weren't written on paper, you could sing or move and send a message that's easy to remember," she said.
So it's no surprise that you'll find music throughout Juneteenth celebrations.
There's a joint pop-up music and poetry performance in the ViBe Creative District in Virginia Beach starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.
That will be followed by a proclamation from Mayor Bobby Dyer.
A performance of Hidden History: The Banjo takes place at the Miller Studio Theatre at the Sandler Center at 2:30 in the afternoon.
In Norfolk – the Chrysler Museum is hosting a family day celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On Sunday, there will be an African American Music month celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring Becky Livas at the UKHS museum outside the Renaissance Academy.
In Newport News, Andrew Shannon wants to do more than just celebrate.
"Can't have symbolism without substance. We want people to come out and have a good time but it also has to have substance," Shannon said.
He is the founder and organizer of Feeding 5000, and that's exactly what he plans to do. There will be free meals for the first 5000 people at New Beech Grove Baptist Church, starting at noon.
"Being able to do Juneteenth is wonderful because Juneteenth means freedom, but we're not really free until we can serve those who have disadvantages," he said.