June 24, 2013 10:20:38 AM
Thanks to all who made
Juneteenth a success
Its official, the Juneteenth festival is over for this year. Without a doubt, the attendance was one of the largest ever, and vendors came from throughout the Southeast to promote and sell their products. Perhaps, there was a sense of obligation by many to support the festival after it had been so maligned by its critics.
We are extremely grateful to the sponsors for their donations and in-kind services. Despite having to scale back the entertainment and other aspects of the festival, it was a success by anyone's measurement. I'm humbled that people in the community felt compelled to be so supportive. They were not caught up in the politics, nor personality, but the recognition of its historical importance in America's history and the cultural contribution to this community. After almost 30 years as an elected official, I know the character of the people that live in our community. The obstacles to real progress in our community are the work of a few. Many have made their personal gain and seemingly their goal is to stifle everyone else.
Much can be said about the effort to make the Juneteenth Festival happen, but we will save that discussion for another day. A special thanks to the Columbus City Council for their willingness to take the criticism for assisting the festival. Their support became the turning point in our effort to proceed. A debt of gratitude is owed to the Columbus-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority for their commitment to insuring the major details of the festival site was in order. W.C. Bland and his staff can compete with any recreation staff in Mississippi.
Finally, for almost two decades we have hosted the Juneteenth Festival and never have I seen such quality of professionalism exhibited by the Columbus Police Department. There are many officers to thank, but Lt. James Grant, the officer in charge is highly commended for his personal commitment to the safety and welfare of the festival participants and the overall management style. The Columbus Police Department should be proud of Officer Grant and his assigned officers.
For the thousands of participants that came out and enjoyed the festival, give a big shout out to the members of the Juneteenth Committee. They were the inspiration and guiding force behind the success of the festival.