Commissioner Simmons on Juneteenth: ‘It’s Our Obligation to Battle Against Injustice, Bigotry’

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By: Sharon Aron Baron

In honor of Juneteenth, a day that symbolizes the abolition of slavery in the United States of America, the City of Coral Springs held a virtual celebration.

Hosted by Coral Springs first black elected official, City Commissioner Joshua Simmons, he said that as a nation we’ve come so far, but so much needs to be done.

‘We gather as a community and a nation to commemorate Juneteenth to remember the liberation of enslavement — only a short 155 years ago,” said Commissioner Simmons.  “For me and many descendants of slavery, Juneteenth comes with mixed emotions. We are celebrating 155 years of freedom, but we are still suffering a great deal today, and we continue to fight.”

The commemoration included poetry read by Luwam Ghermay, Wesley Norwood, and Sherikka Mitchell, who read the “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, and “Mother to Son” and “Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes.

Dr. Bessie Cristwell, who won the  MLK Monument award this year, named the 2020 MLK scholarship recipients, and Jackie Bolden, a long-time city volunteer, spoke about her experience as a young girl growing up in Virginia.

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A Step Performance was given by Jordan Fields, Lanes Albert, and Zyon Gilbert of Omega Psi Phi, and Jas Floyd and Jordan Eusebe performed “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday.

Commissioner Simmons said we should never deny our nation’s past regardless of how painful that past may be. Our history is a lesson for us today and for generations to come. 

We get to choose what kind of country we want America to be — we have to commit to ending the division, the hatred, the ugliness that we see on a daily basis. We are better than this.  I know many of you out there are good people — and we need all good people to join together to make sure that we have a country that our children want to grow up in.

“It’s our obligation to battle against injustice, and we banish bigotry in all its forms and that we work together in unison for real equality for all.

He ended it by asking viewers to please educate your children. “…to know better than us, to be better than all of us, and, more importantly, let’s honor the sacrifices of our ancestors.

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