JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Juneteenth is this weekend, and plenty of Jacksonville organizations have planned to uniquely celebrate the holiday.
June 19 marks 157 years since enslaved people in Galveston, Texas officially received word that they were free.
Juneteenth is more than just a holiday for Tanisha Crisp, Move for Change founder.
Crisp is spearheading the Move for Change 5K Juneteenth Celebration which runs from Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19.
“We’re advocating for the Black community. This is when the Black community became free. This is knowledge that we were not free when the rest of America was free,” Crisp said.
Thousands are expected to show up at Kingdom Plaza and Jacksonville Beach to enjoy the celebration. Along with the 5K run at 5:30 p.m., there will be food vendors, music and educational opportunities for visitors to experience.
“We want everyone to attend. It’s not just for the Black community, it’s for people that support us as well. People that are allies. People that advocate for the Black community. We want everyone to be involved,” Crisp said.
Councilman Reggie Gaffney and Pastor Terry Hill are also encouraging people to gather for a Juneteenth gospel concert at Daily’s Place on Saturday.
“This time last year, it was a conversation. I sponsored a bill and 18 of my colleagues followed me to allow Juneteenth to become a holiday for the city. Not only are we celebrating by having a concert, but now it’s a holiday in Jacksonville,” Gaffney said.
For Pastor Hill, the Juneteenth celebration has more responsibilities than others
“The responsibility is upon us to do something with the celebration. To not just make it a day off or a day to party, but a day that allows us the privilege of celebrating uniqueness and diversity and pushing towards making things better in our community,” Hill said.
The festivities don’t stop at the gospel concert. There’s also a Juneteenth Melanin Market on A Philip Randolph Boulevard this Saturday, showcasing over 210 black-owned businesses in Jacksonville, and Fernandina Beach is hosting the Juneteenth Jump-Off at Peck Field.
Gaffney hopes that people recognize the festivities beyond the celebrations and truly honor Black heritage.
“What I’m hoping is that other nonprofit companies will follow. That the whole city will recognize that this is special for us,” Gaffney said.
To see more Juneteenth events, click here.