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Juneteenth South Broward Parade in Hollywood is a celebration of freedom, community

Juneteenth South Broward Parade in Hollywood is a celebration of freedom
Juneteenth South Broward Parade in Hollywood is a celebration of freedom 02:56

FORT LAUDERDALE - Hundreds of people will line the streets of Hollywood for the annual Juneteenth South Broward parade on Wednesday morning.

At the Juneteenth South Broward Parade, expect music, dancing, and a great marching band. Juneteenth South Broward founder Georgette Lasley said she developed the celebration after discovering a need in her community. At the time she owned a small cafe in Liberia. She explained that one year, as she greeted customers on Juneteenth she was surprised by their reaction.

"Everyone walked in on the 19th and I was like 'Happy Juneteenth!' Everyone was looking at me like a girl, what are you talking about? Nobody knew at that time what Juneteenth was. I'm like, you guys don't know what Juneteenth is? We're predominantly in an African American community, and you guys don't know what Juneteenth is. That's what gave me the go-ahead, or the go, to say you know what I'm going to start an organization," said Lasley.

Bringing her vision to reality faced obstacles. Initially, she was turned down by several municipalities.

"So, knowing that I lived this firsthand is something. So that's why the celebration of freedom, the celebration of me being who I am means a lot to me. Juneteenth's celebration of our freedom is something that everyone should get involved with. It doesn't matter what color you are. You know, our freedom matters, everyone's freedom matters," said Lasley.

She began attending City of Hollywood meetings and made her case for the event. Hollywood city leaders said yes.

"They were the only ones that opened the door for me to do it," said Lasley.

That's how the Juneteenth South Broward Parade was born.

"Each year, Georgette, you persist, you push that pebble, until it's a stone, and then it becomes a rock, and then it becomes a boulder, until it becomes a mountain of support for making sure we can fight back against discriminatory conduct, laws, and oppression which is what we've been able to do on this national holiday once and for all," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at last year's celebration.

"We started out with one to two hundred people throughout the first five years to my seventh year when it grew, and it was so phenomenal. I was so surprised by all the people on the side of the road, they were literally waiting on us with lawn chairs, and I mean families coming out of their homes and it was amazing to me. I'm just so, thankful, very thankful," said Lasley.

Now, eight years later, hundreds line the streets of Hollywood for the annual celebration of freedom and the end of slavery in the United States.

The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. at 5199 Pembroke Road. It then heads west N 56th Avenue. At Washington Street, it turns onto South 52nd Avenue and then makes it way back to where it started.

Lasley said her goal is to make the Juneteenth South Broward Parade one of the most anticipated community events in the region. This year at the event there will also be free community health screenings, food trucks, and cookouts. 

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