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Block parties and conversation: Jacksonville celebrates Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrations took place around Jacksonville.
Juneteenth celebrations took place around Jacksonville. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Events across the First Coast celebrated Juneteenth on Friday.

In celebration of the holiday, the Acosta Bridge was lit up, just one way that Juneteenth was celebrated in the River City.

People around the area participated in block parties and community conversation to discuss and learn about what June 19th means.

The holiday celebrates the day when the final slaves were emancipated in Galveston, Texas two and half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

“We have to talk about Juneteenth and black liberation and freedom,” said Shawana Brooks, 6 Feet away Gallery.

“Everybody around the city around the country around the world is really coming together and waking up to realize we have to empower ourselves if we don’t empower ourselves no one else will,” said Jamil Lovett-Harvey.

This year’s Juneteenth celebration has taken on a new light given the recent civil unrest and many companies have closed their offices to observe the holiday. 

Across the River City, people gathered to celebrate. Today Tea Posh Naturals kicked off their three-day celebration of Juneteenth with a block party to bring the community together while supporting black-owned businesses.

“Our people need to show how unity if formed we need to see this more in our city we have had some negative episodes that have happened in the past couple of months so we decided we wanted to bring love and unity,” said Tyrica Nelson.

At The 6 feet away Gallery people gathered to enjoy some local artwork and have a community conversation about the importance of Juneteenth and how it should be celebrated.

“What we would like to do and trying to introduce is a celebration because Cinco de mayo we celebrate we get drunk to have a good time because they overcame but when it came time we overcame it is just okay you overcame and what now,” said Roosevelt Watson III.

The celebration of Juneteenth will continue Saturday across Jacksonville.

Check out this story for a list of local events.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.