KITCHENER -- As Juneteeth becomes a federal holiday in the United States for the first time, The Guelph Black Heritage Society celebrated the day with an event.

The Saturday night virtual gathering featured music, a spoken word artist, and dance.

"There's just something about knowing we are all gathered, whether we are in our kitchen, living room, different cities, we are all gathered at the same time to acknowledge and pay homage to this event," said Alexis Charles, director of programming for the society. "That's very powerful."

The society says they hope to help people learn about the history of slavery, including how the enslavement of African people happened as part of Canada's colonial history and how it was abolished in Canada as part of the British empire in 1834.