CULLMAN CO., Ala. (WBRC) - Cullman County celebrated Juneteenth for the first time in Hanceville over the weekend.
The event was peaceful despite police telling WBRC they’d gotten calls from neighbors angry the event was happening.
While WBRC was there covering the event, a group of people showed up waving a state flag and “Thin Blue Line” flag.
After our story aired, several of the people who were against the event wanted to speak about why they decided not to support it.
The Juneteenth celebration was hosted by the Committee for a Better Cullman run by a man named A.C. Poteete.
No one of color attended the event and there wasn’t much support from the community.
Neighbor Jason Nunnelley weighed-in on why he said folks didn’t show up.
“There was a flyer and it was very clear, it said things like profanity is going to be acceptable, we’re talking about defunding the police and we’re here to talk about a socialist agenda And none of those have anything to do with the liberation of slaves in 1865,” Tech Village Cullman Director Jason Nunnelley said.
Nunnelley was referring to an Instagram post which appeared to be by A.C. Poteete.
Neighbor Sissy McGinnis was one of the people who waved flags at the event, against it. McGinnis sent a statement:
“The reason i [sic] wanted to make things more clear, is because it was made to look like we was against the juneteenth celebration day. We would support a celebration day and would have that one, had it really been for that. I speaking for myself, was upset, because the group “Commitee for a Better Cullman”... Disrespected, used, and degraded the black community by saying they was having a juneteenth, when reality they was meeting to defund the police.”
Cullman Co. also had a " Back the Blue” rally Saturday.
“I would have loved to participate in a Liberation celebration. I believe that’s a fantastic thing to celebrate. But, If you looked at the flyer and looked to be more in line with an ANTIFA celebration than it was a Juneteenth celebration. I don’t think anyone wants to participate in hijacking a pretty cool event to promote a particular political view,” Nunnelley said.
A.C. Poteete told WBRC during the Juneteenth event that all viewpoints were welcome to voice their opinion and that he wanted it to be open forum, inclusive celebration.