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The City of Daytona Beach is a proud sponsor of this year’s Juneteenth Community Celebration Festival, which is Saturday, June 18 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Thanks to the commitment of an all-volunteer committee, Daytona Beach’s festival is one of the longest-running and largest Juneteenth celebrations in Florida. The celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Midtown Community Complex, 925 George W. Engram Boulevard. Admission is free to this community event featuring food and beverage vendors, merchandise and sponsor interactive activity booths, live music, dancing, children’s games, educational activities and a pound cake contest.
For those who don’t know about the origins of Juneteenth, it marks the effective end of slavery in the U.S. It is the oldest known public celebration of the end of slavery. After the end of the Civil War and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a number of people remained enslaved in the U.S. It was on June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read the statement, “In accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” which finally meant freedom for those 250,000 people still enslaved in Texas. Juneteenth is not only a celebration of freedom, but also one of opportunity, equity and access. Observation of Juneteenth is a visible way to demonstrate the commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.