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Organizers hold first annual Juneteenth Event in Panama City

Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 8:46 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -

Juneteenth marks the official end of slavery 155 years ago in the United States. And June 19, 2020, marks the first annual Juneteenth celebration in Panama City.

“We need to have black pride in this community here in Bay County,” event organizer Richard Jenkins III said.

That black pride is just what organizers brought Friday evening in observance of Juneteenth.

“Now that the young people understand what Juneteenth represents, I believe they want to be a part and rediscover who we were and what we did as minority people during that time,” Greater Deliverance Church pastor Sherlene McClary said.

It was an empty lot turned into a fun-filled celebration. People enjoyed local entertainment, kids enjoyed face painting and everyone enjoyed the vendors with plenty of food to offer.

“I wanted to bring the community together to let them know what Juneteenth was, educate them, give them the history, and have a celebration; nothing too heavy,” Jenkins III said.

Proceeds from the event will go toward Solomon Smith, the African American man who was wrongfully arrested by a Springfield officer earlier in June.

It was an evening all in good fun, but also a chance to educate Bay County.

“Our generation was really just talking about liberation for our minority people, but now Juneteenth marks a dedicated time and place that was in history, and now they want to bring it forward and recognize it and acknowledge, and I think that’s a good thing,” McClary said.

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