A response from a member of the Kennesaw Police Department’s Citizen’s Advisory Board

Kennesaw City Hall

Dear Mr. Johnson:

In 2005, I moved to Georgia from the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. In an effort to find a great community for raising my then two young children, we chose west Cobb County and the City of Kennesaw for our new home. The more we announced our decision to family and friends, the more they became concerned about our choice, well, because of the reality of a less-than-stellar history of the city, as it relates to race relations.

Can I say that the past 16 years was all “peaches and cream”? No, not at all. But we can say that our experience has been mostly positive and that we have met good people and created awesome friendships.

One goal over that time was to take an active role in making our city great. In 2020, I was approached to join the Kennesaw Police Department’s Citizen’s Advisory Board, to create a link between the Department and the people whom they serve. I committed to assisting with that effort. Since that time, there has been a non-stop effort to create true relationship with the community through transparency and purposeful contact.

One suggestion was to host an event to recognize Juneteenth in Kennesaw.

“You mean Kennesaw?”

“Yes, that Kennesaw. The Georgia Kennesaw.”

I was all for it! The goal was to use a day that historically in 1865, should have been a major step in the direction of unity, as an opportunity to promote unity for this generation. I have proudly disseminated flyer after colorful flyer inviting “my” community to the Juneteenth celebration. I am excited! This is history, and I am a part of it.

On Saturday, June 19, a community, plagued by a history of division, hate, and healing will make a move in the right direction by collectively celebrating the emancipation of a people, whose freedom was advanced on a hot day in Galveston, Texas. It’s an all hands on deck event, including the City of Kennesaw, the Kennesaw PD, a diversity of local churches and schools, fun, games, and FOOD! The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History will perform a reenactment of the role of African American soldiers during the war, we will learn the history of Juneteenth, and much more.

Please come and join us at 11:00am as “we” celebrate Juneteenth, a day of unity!


Stephan Bell, Maturity Pastor

Flyer for the Juneteenth Celebration