Juneteenth Celebration In Wilton Manors

Photo via Vecteezy.

Juneteenth is America’s true Independence Day. It celebrates the day that news of emancipation reached Texas, the last state to learn of liberation. Though this is only the fourth year it’s been recognized as a federal holiday, it’s long been celebrated as a true day of independence. This year the celebration expands.

“This is the very first Juneteenth event in the history of Wilton Manors,” LaTonya Hopson of The Legacy Builders said. “It’s a celebration of Pride and of legacy, a conversation centered around deep roots of the Black community, diving into personal life matters and experiences and how some of our key, influential leaders got to where they are today and overcoming social injustice.”

“Juneteenth Urban Mixer: A Celebration of Pride and Legacy” is set for June 19 at No Manors from 7-10 p.m.

“This is solely a celebration of liberation. First and foremost we have to focus on what Juneteenth was. Black people in the south, not knowing they were free in the state of Texas. The other states knew that. Texas was the last state to know they were free.”

The Emancipation Proclamation had been issued more than two years prior, but it wasn’t enforced in southern states, including Florida, until federal soldiers quelled the insurrectionists and reclaimed territory.

“We have to focus on the emancipation,” Hopson said. “Because Wilton Manors is a gay community, we also want to shed light on our influential leaders who are queer, who have been a part of civil rights, who have been part of the human rights movement, and the women’s rights movement. Yes, they are all Black.”

For The Legacy Builders, it’s about using history to empower the future. “We’re sharing that part of the history. Then we go into the personal of knowing how that shaped you positively. How knowing where you came from helps you be more confident in any community in any space.”

Hopson reiterates that this is an event focusing on liberation. A more Pride-focused event will be “Juneteenth Pride Celebration: Connect. Commemorate. Celebrate.” That’s 7 p.m. June 14 at Miami Botanical Gardens.

“That is actually more fitting because it’s in nature and is in harmony.”

That event will honor local activists Tatiana Williams, Jeff Oliverio, and Naomi Cobb.

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