Local Juneteenth Celebrations
With Juneteenth now recognized as a national holiday, we here at United Way of Central Florida wanted to share some local celebrations happening this weekend.
Bartow Juneteenth Celebration – Food, fun, line dancing, prizes and even a cornhole competition is on the agenda for the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration in Bartow. The two-day celebration is June 19-20th, 2021. The event will also feature entertainment including guests artists April Brown and Tremayne Toombs Campbell.
- Where: Polk Street Underpass
- When: Sat., June 19, 10am – 5pm; Sun., June 20, 12pm – 4pm
Winter Haven Juneteenth Celebration – Attendees can look forward to historical reflections, spoken word performances, a battle of the bands, Family Feud: HBCU edition, and an electrifying performance from Winter Haven’s own Gritz and Jelly Butter Band! Kids of all ages can participate in the kid fitness challenge hosted by Andre Berto.
- Where: Lake Maude Park, 1790 7th Street NE, Winter Haven, FL 33881
- When: Sat., June 19, 1pm – 8pm
Annual Lakeland Juneteenth Observance – There will be food (free for children), event tables-if you would like to get a table for yourself or your group, please reach out to the contact below. Music & fellowship. There will also be vaccinations being administered during the event.
- Where: Coleman-Bush Building, 1104 MLK Ave., Lakeland
- When: Sat., June 19, 3pm – 5pm
Northwest Community Market and Juneteenth Celebration – The celebration in Lake Wales will give you an amazing opportunity to celebrate this important day in American history! There will be a great Kids Zone, vendor booths, music, and a great time!
- Where: Intersection of Lincoln Avenue and B Street
- When: Sat. June 19, 9am – 3pm
Haines City Juneteenth Celebration – The 1st annual Juneteenth celebration is presented by Unity in the Community, NAACP Haines City Branch, Northeast Revitalization Group, the Northeast Rattlers, and the City of Haines City. Join us for a night of arts & elegance at the Lake Eva Event Center for the 1st annual Juneteenth Black Tie Gala. Tickets are on sale now and include a catered dinner, entertainment, speaker, cultural art displays & more. Doors open at 6:00PM, with dinner at 7:00PM.
- Where: 799 Johns Ave E, Haines City, FL 33844
- When: Fri., June 18, 6 pm – 9 pm
So what is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is short for June Nineteenth and marks the days when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to notify and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. This is significant because the troops arrived 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
The reality is that the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free enslaved people (the ratification of the 13th amendment January 1865). The arrival of General Granger signaled freedom for the 250,000 enslaved Black Texans. The news brought forth that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed 2.5 years prior and prompted the creation of “Jubilee Day” June 19, which we now refer to as Juneteenth. The decades following, Juneteenth commemorations have taken place in the form of barbecues, prayer services, plays and music festivals. Locally, Juneteenth activities also include recommitment activities focused on creating equitable policies, particularly around Black issues.
Freedom is acquired not by the mere declaration of words, but by the active work of people. Let Juneteenth be a reminder that our work should be a calling of freedom – freedom to live in a country where your race is not a key indicator of your ability to thrive in the areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability.
So let us continue to do the work that calls Freedom. Demands Freedom.