City of Winter Haven Announces 3-Day Juneteenth Celebration with Official Proclamation
by James Coulter
The City of Winter Haven will be celebrating diversity and inclusion with their three-day Juneteenth Celebration later this week.
At their recent meeting on Monday evening, Bradley T. Dantzler, Mayor of the City of Winter Haven, read an official proclamation declaring Sat. June 17 as Juneteenth Day.
“The residents, businesses, and employees of the City of Winter Haven, Florida, are firmly committed to celebrating and promoting diversity, inclusion, and cultural traditions of our City’s Communities,” the proclamation read.
“The 2023 Juneteenth Celebration Committee has been charged with and worked along with staff to bring appreciation, and recognition of African American history by creating an atmosphere of unity through a modern-day celebration of heritage that educates, engages, the broader community and inspires future change-makers,” it further elucidated.
Juneteenth, as described on the city website, “is the official day of observance to celebrate African Americans and our newest National Holiday! Juneteenth marks the liberation of thousands of enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It is a tribute to the perseverance, and faith of African Americans.”
Christine Samuel, Diversity and Inclusivity Director and the Juneteenth Celebration Committee, commended the city for hosting the annual event for the third consecutive year.
“We thank you for being so supportive with the Juneteenth event,” she said. “Every time we ask for something, we feel like we are being supported, and we would like to thank you for that. We appreciate your commitment to Juneteenth.”
Kadian Parchment, a member of the Juneteenth Committee, likewise commended the city for its pursuit of furthering diversity and inclusion within the city and local community.
“People have watched that conversation about diversity and equity, and we are thankful that the City of Winter Haven makes sure this is an important conversation that continues to take place here. The City is becoming more and more diverse, and with that comes more cultural events. So we are thankful the City had donated and dedicated funds to the event and partner with the community. We are thankful for that.”
The upcoming three-day Juneteenth Celebration will be as follows (as mentioned on the city website):
Thurs., June 15th, 2023 – Juneteenth: It’s History, Impact, & Significance Today
Winter Haven Recreation & Cultural Center (WHRCC); 6pm – 7:30pm
Come and learn more about the history of Juneteenth and how it affects our communities today in this town hall event.
Fri., June 16, 2023 – Movies at the Maude
Lake Maude Recreation Park; Movie begins at 8pm
Come and watch the award winning 2007 film, ‘The Great Debaters’ which features Denzel Washington as he depicts professor Melvin B. Tolson, who recruits the first black debate team to challenge Harvard’s prestigious debate champions.
Sat., June 17, 2023 – 2023 Juneteenth Celebration
Lake Maude Recreation Park; 11am – 4pm
This event will enhance each attendee’s understanding of African American culture by strategically infusing the visual and performing arts. The City aims to provide fun and safe activities, community awards, contests, and games while enjoying influential jazz and R&B musical acts.