MELROSE, MASS. (WHDH) - As communities across the Commonwealth came together Monday to celebrate Juneteenth, celebrants said their words of support need to be backed by action.

“Juneteenth is just the beginning, I mean, there are a lot of people who say they want to make changes happen, but when it faces them, that’s the not in my backyard crew,” said North Shore Juneteenth Association member and poet Michelle Laboacica Richardson. “If you really want change, you have to do the work.”

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in 1865, and it was officially declared a federal holiday by President Joe Biden last year. While Juneteenth fell on Sunday this year it is being celebrated as a work holiday Monday.

“This is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the goal of creating a more equal and just society and that effort continues today,” said Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur. “Our curriculum in our public schools and our private schools needs to be inclusive and it needs to tell our history honestly.”

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