On the Scene: THJCA celebrates Juneteenth

by Kiran Malik-Khan

Celebrated on June 19, the day commemorated for the final ending of slavery in Texas, in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. One such celebration was hosted by The Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association. A community-based, grass-roots organization, the THJCA is a resident-driven nonprofit focused on connecting youth and families to opportunities, resources and enrichment.

The group hosts afterschool and community programs, as well as various in-school and afterschool programming, in several schools throughout Hillsborough County, where they teach gardening, arts, wellness and offer mentoring, as well as behavioral support services.

The June 19 event was the 4th Annual Tampa Heights Cultural Fest, held at the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association Community Center.

“The event was a celebration of freedom, culture and community. Our goal was to bring together people from all backgrounds to celebrate what it means to be part of Tampa Heights,” says Naya Young, executive director of THJCA. “Our neighborhood is quickly changing, due to development, and many of the families we have traditionally served have been displaced in the process. Especially this year, we wanted to create a healing, and fun, space where we all could come together to collectively celebrate and heal together. Our mission is to celebrate the history, accomplishments and arts within our African American culture locally, and nationally, for Juneteenth celebration.”

Attended by an estimated 150 people, the celebration featured a wide range of activities including a sound bath, spoken word, live performances, a community chat on mental health, Konpa dancing and an Afrobeats dance workshop – to name a few.

For more information, please visit: https://www.thjca.org/.

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