By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia kicked off its celebrations for the upcoming Juneteenth holiday with a flag-raising ceremony. The Black Liberation Flag was raised outside City Hall Wednesday morning, as music played.

Philadelphia Holds Flag-Raising For Upcoming Juneteenth Holiday

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A moment of pride, a moment of reflection as Philadelphia officials usher in Juneteenth celebrations.

“As a symbol of this day of celebration, remembrance, and reflection, today we raise the Black liberation flag,” Deputy Managing Director Jazelle Jones said. “It is a tri-color flag consisting of three horizontal bands from the top down, red, black and green.”

The Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative is working to commemorate what has now become a city holiday June 19, commemorating the end of 400 years of slavery in the United States.

“Juneteenth has unique cultural and historical significance,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “It symbolizes freedom, represents the triumph of emancipation and marks a day of reflection.”

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The 52nd Street parade in West Philadelphia had to be canceled last year due to COVID-19, but this year, the parade and festival will return in spectacular fashion with a Freedom Day march, giveaways, and art exhibits. It’s cradled in the heart of West Philly for a reason.

“West Philadelphia has the largest population of African Americans in Philadelphia with 52nd Street, affectionally known as The Strip, being the historical Black corridor of West Philly,” Jones said.

While the city has already declared Juneteenth an official holiday, the push for a national federal holiday is gaining momentum in Congress.

“The Juneteenth legislation has passed the Senate and it passed unanimously,” Gary Shepherd with the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative said.

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The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the legislation on Tuesday. It’s expected to pass the House on Wednesday before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk — one step closer to solidifying a federal Juneteenth holiday, which for many is long overdue.