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Juneteenth event in Gainesville to teach history, provide resources to community
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Dancers with Ignite perform during the 7th annual Juneteenth Day Festival at the Midtown Greenway on Saturday, June 15, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

Organizers for an event celebrating Juneteenth in Gainesville hope to give people a greater understanding of history while providing a better path forward for participants through different resources.

Juneteenth is considered the traditional commemoration date of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States on June 19, 1865. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the date’s significance relates to a Union general arriving in Galveston, Texas, and informing the enslaved people about the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. A bill was signed June 17, 2021, making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The Emancipation Proclamation, which was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862, declared all slaves in Confederate territory as free. 

Devin Pandy, who ran against now Rep. Andrew Clyde in the 2020 election, has helped organize as part of “For a Greater Gainesville” a group crafted from his campaign committee with a goal to “provide the community with the support it needs by connecting them with organizations that provide those services.”

Juneteenth Celebration

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 19

Where: Midtown Greenway, 682 Grove St., Gainesville

“The goal for this celebration is to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, but it’s also an opportunity for the community as a whole to come together and for the community to possibly receive information and education on different things that can improve their lives in the short and long term,” Pandy said.

While they plan to have someone discuss the historical significance of Juneteenth in our nation’s history, Pandy said they are hoping to have some financial guidance services there to discuss budgeting, building or repairing credit and establishing generational wealth.

In addition to food and music, Pandy said they are working to have health services as well, such as COVID-19 testing and vaccines, HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing and sickle cell screening.

Pandy said he hopes attendees will gain “a deeper appreciation for the meaning of Juneteenth” as well as information on resources that can enhance their lives.

The Newtown Florist Club, Gainesville’s civil rights group, will have a tent at the celebration for a “Black Business and Community Resource Guide Appreciation” reception.

The club has completed its work in completing a Black business directory, and the project’s coordinator, Angela Middleton, said they hope to have the reception as a way to gather and thank those that entered their information into the publication.

“Without them listing their businesses, it would not have been the success that we think it was,” she said.

Middleton said there will be copies of the directory to be disseminated, and people will have an avenue to sign up for the directory’s next edition.

“Not only will it have an opportunity for the businesses to network with each other, but it’s also an introduction to the community for some of these businesses,” Middleton said.

“For a Greater Gainesville” is partnering with Ninth District Opportunity and TBird’s Touch, a business started by Middleton with the goal to “identify, network and help grow the businesses of the south side” of Gainesville.

Regional events