INDIANAPOLIS — On Juneteenth 2020 at 38th Street and Sherman Drive there was a celebration of what Black businesses can do.
"You can manifest your dreams out here today and that's what I feel like I did," Makailya Rice said.
That was the goal for Trey Hester and two of his business partners when they decided Juneteenth would be the perfect day to elevate Black businesses to a platform where they could be exposed to new customers.
"Since 1865 I believe we've been a little bit freeish and this holiday has been here since then but it's taken us this long and for so many different things to happen for us to see that this is a moment that we need to come together," Hester said.
Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas received the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect two and a half years earlier. As the day marks a moment when Black people in America were able to do new things, this Juneteenth celebration in Indianapolis is the launchpad for a number of Black businesses which often face challenges other businesses do not.
"Black businesses have been discouraged," Hester said. "You think about loans, you think about people just coming to shop with you in the first place that type of propaganda that we face is unseen but is also seen by us."
The business owners at this celebration were able to set up shop for free, putting everyone on an equal playing field, including Rice, a teacher a business owner, who said the celebration put her small Black-owned business of custom education supplies in the spotlight.
"So for me this platform is huge because I'm on display," Rice said. "I'm on display with my community not just by myself but as a team effort. three people put this amazing event on and I honestly feel like that's what it's about."