JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Juneteenth is recognized as the end of slavery in the U.S. and just became a federal holiday last year.
Jacksonville residents had plenty of events to attend throughout the weekend to celebrate the holiday.
One of the popular events in the area is the Melanin Market, an event that brings over 200 black businesses together to celebrate entrepreneurship and community.
Over the last few months, major companies such as Walmart received backlash from the public over how they choose to commemorate Juneteenth with their merchandise.
However, people who attended the Melanin Market celebration said there are other effective ways companies could get their point across and show support.
One participant said that “some of the items got backlash for what some say undermines the meaning of Juneteenth”
Walmart apologized last month for making a Great Value Juneteenth ice cream, and an Indianapolis Children’s Museum took a Juneteenth Watermelon Salad off its menu - later blaming it on an oversight that was not reviewed by museum staff.
“It’s not about the the items and the monetary things, it’s about your support. So as long as you’re being genuine, I don’t want the hoopla and the commodities. I need genuine support. I don’t need ice cream,” Rachel Csar said.
Vendors at the Melanin Market said knowing the history and supporting black businesses is part of what Juneteenth is about.
For vendors like Jennifer Goodwin, owner of Open Heart Arts and Crafts LLC, the correct way to celebrate Juneteenth is by “remembering the purpose.”
“If you have festivities like this used to remember the purpose of Juneteenth, that’s the right way to do it. Not making ice cream,” Goodwin said.
Vendors and participants at the event hope people continue to speak up about meaningful ways to commemorate the holiday.