TAMPA, Fla. — In honor of Juneteenth, which President Joe Biden just made a federal holiday, Tampa city leaders raised a Juneteenth flag Friday over Old City Hall.
Mayor Jane Castor, City Councilman Orlando Gudes, Sen. Darryl Rouson and the Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition took part in the historic flag-raising ceremony.
"We are a city that celebrates our diversity here in Tampa," Castor said. The city's mayor added that while the Juneteenth ceremony is a moment to celebrate, the community still has work to do to eradicate injustice.
A proclamation was also issued during Friday's event to mark June 19 as "Juneteenth Awareness Day" in the City of Tampa. Another proclamation was issued by the Hillsborough County Commissioners to name the day "Juneteenth National Freedom Day."
The moment marked the second time the Juneteenth flag has flown in Tampa. It will remain over Old City Hall until June 20.
"Juneteenth represents freedom. Notice of freedom. Freedom is access to good healthcare. Freedom is fully funded public education. Freedom is real criminal justice reform," Sen. Darryl Rouson said.
According to the city, red, yellow and green lights will illuminate Tampa at Old City Hall, Curtis Hixon Park and downtown bridges "to further commemorate the importance of Juneteenth."
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
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