ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News at 10) – Juneteenth is a time for celebration and reflection. It marks the date, June 19th, 1865 when Texas announced the abolition of slavery. But this was more than two and a half years after slavery ended with the emancipation proclamation in 1863.
Students at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg are using this holiday as a tool to educate others.
“Black history to me is the commemoration of how far we have come,” said Kaniya Gibson, Internal Vice President for the Black Student Union at USF in St. Petersburg.
“Black history means everything. It’s very important to recognize those that came before us and really kind of paved the way for us,” said Anthony Goden who serves as President of the BSU at USFSP.
Every voice in the room lifted in song as students, professors, and community members joined in to celebrate Juneteenth at USF.
“We’ve created a type of culture that is specific to African-American people. We’ve found community. I transferred from another university and I wasn’t very involved so I wanted to find my community,” said Gibson who joined the Black Student Union at USF last year – one of the best decisions she says she’s made as a student. “I made a million friends so now I’m here to try to bring community to other students on campus.”
Two individuals with one common goal: to educate their community.
“I know there can be more that can be done. For me, it’s really important to make sure that our black students on campus are served the right way, treated the right way, we are treated the right way as well,” said Goden. “I just want to make an impact in our community. Recognize that this is a holiday.”