REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- The County of San Mateo raised the Juneteenth Flag on Tuesday morning, recognizing the end of slavery in America.
With the display, comes a recommitment to addressing any disparities in education, employment, housing, healthcare, and criminal justice for the black community and beyond.
The county described the flag-raising as a call for residents to commemorate Juneteenth.
For Kalimah Salahuddin, it's also a reminder of her family's resilience.
"My family are Juneteenth slaves. My grandmother's grandmother was a slave in Texas and my grandmother still picked cotton on that plantation until she left when she was 19 and came here," Salahuddin told ABC7 News.
Salahuddin is the co-founder of the county's Reach Coalition, which works to dismantle systemic bias and long-standing barriers against the most vulnerable communities.
She said Tuesday morning's display moves the county in that direction.
"It's really about telling our stories because it helps to see our humanity, but also helps ensure that what happened to us in the past doesn't repeat itself," Salahuddin said.
San Mateo County has already adopted Juneteenth as an annual holiday for county employees, observed each year on June 19. This is in alignment with the national holiday, recognized by the federal government.
Other Bay Area municipalities have also made the move to celebrate the end of slavery in the name of justice, freedom, and the power of community. President Joe Biden signed it into law back in 2021.
"It's not just one day," County Supervisor Noelia Corzo said. "It's really ongoing work and we need to celebrate the history, we need to tell the history. We need the community to really be grounded in that history so we can be committed to the work of the future."
Corzo added that the flag-raising kicks off a month of celebration, awareness, and events around the holiday.
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