By: Rachael O'Neil | CBS 11 NewsBy Staff

MCKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The federal holiday, Juneteenth, will be recognized and city leaders across the state are preparing for the monumental day.

Places like McKinney have celebrated the occasion before but their secretary, Empress Drane, says this year they’re highlighting it more than ever before.

“I think that a lot of energy around social initiative has brought a lot of awareness to things like diversity, equality, and inclusion,” Drane explained. “Juneteenth seems very appropriate to magnify.”

Drane says McKinney’s Juneteenth celebration will include games, history lessons and water activities.

The city of Arlington is planning to throw their own Juneteenth Jubilee for the first time ever, which will also include interactive opportunities and Black history education.

“It’s two and a half hours from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. which will symbolize the two and a half years of lost freedom after emancipation proclamation,” said Chris Hightower, president and CEO of Arlington Museum of Art. “It took two and a half years to get about 250,000 people who were enslaved, free.”

Darryl Blair, a Dallas organizer of an inaugural Juneteenth celebration, says he hopes these events will bring people from all walks of life closer together.

“Juneteenth is not a divisive event, it’s a unifying event — it’s an engagement. It’s not a passive deal where are you just come in and pass everybody and wave. No, at some point you’ve got to be engaged by the virtue of the celebration and the things that are going on,” said Blair. Staff