Members of the community got together recently to commemorate Juneteenth at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. The celebration began with a parade.

Georgette Lasley-Wiggins organized and led the event. “This has been amazing. We have had a great turnout for our first time,” she said. Her husband Bruce Wiggins helped Georgette run the event.

 

Community leaders at the Juneteenth celebration at the MLK Community Park in Hollywood.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history. It commemorates the time when Union General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island, Texas with about 2,000 soldiers on June 18, 1865. The following day, Granger read “General Order No. 3” announcing the total emancipation of those held as slaves.

Those who came could enjoy a variety of musical entertainment, plenty of great food, and a bounce house for the children. A number of community organizations were present, and people were encouraged to vote in the upcoming election. Philip Levine, a candidate for Florida Governor stopped by.

“This is a great opportunity for people to see how far we have come and how far we have to go to promote equality,” said Broward County Mayor Beam Furr stressing the pervasive issue of income inequality in our society.

When celebrating Juneteenth, people often say this was the day the slaves in Texas were told they were free. Former slaves in Texas and throughout the South struggled during the years after the Civil War, but they would gather in mid-June to celebrate the day they learned they were free.

“We are here to promote friendship and equality,” said Hollywood Commissioner Peter Hernandez. “We have come a long way, but we still have a way to go.”

 

Broward Mayor Beam Furr on the left and Hollywood Commissioner Peter Hernandez on the right at the Juneteenth celebration

 

Live entertainment at the Juneteenth event