JUNETEENTH IN ZEPHYRHILLS. Mark Antokas

06/21/04

INTRO: In April of this year, the community of Zephyrhills attracted national attention by rescinding the Martin Luther King Jr. name it had previously placed on Sixth Avenue. Zephyrhills is the only city in Florida to do so. Yesterday, at Zyphr park, a “Juneteenth� celebration took place and WMNF’s Mark Antokas was there. Roll Tape:

SCRIPT: Word of Abraham Lincoln’s freeing the nation’s slaves by signing the Emancipation Proclamation took two years to reach Texas on June 19th 1865. “Juneteenth� has since become a national holiday which celebrates African American culture and cultural diversity. The site of the celebration sunday in East Pasco was in Zephyrhills, the city which voted down an MLK designation in April. Since then, under city manager Steve Spina’s direction, the city has attempted to create dialog between the black and white communities. Bob Justin, a resident of Zephyrhills for thirty-two years, gave the opening benediction and commented afterwards on the diversity of the roughly one hundred people there. Roll Tape:

Blanche Benford, president of the Pasco County Black Caucus, who had demonstrated against the MLK namechange in April, spoke of the personal pride in the African American community and of Unity. Roll Tape:

Liz Geiger, the City Councilwoman who narrowly won re-election by one vote was the only council member who voted to keep the MLK designation in April. Geiger congradulated those in attendance. Eroll Tape:

WMNF asked Chief Russ Barnes, Zephyrhills police chief, about the Linda Perry case. Some one ran a large vehicle over Perry’s lawn in April, an act that was called rascist at the time. Roll Tape:

Last week, former congressional candidate from Sarasota, The Reverend Charles McKenzie, said he was trying to organize a boycott of Zephyrhills bottled water as a way of expressing displeasure at the City’s vote to rescind the MLK designation. Zephyrhills mayor Cliff McDuffy, reacted sourly when he learned of this. Roll Tape:

SOCK-OUT: Organizers of the first “Juneteenth� Celebration in Zephyrhills were pleasantly surprised and considered the celebration a sucess in a city which sorely needs to heal. The City will be having two diversity training sessions for city workers, and the public. The dates are August 2nd and August 3rd. This is Mark Antokas for WMNF radio news.

comments powered by Disqus