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Juneteenth 2011
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By Samuel Collins, III
Friday, June 24, 2011

On behalf of the Hitchcock community, I would like to say thank you to each of our Juneteenth sponsors this year.  Each prayer, volunteer, dollar and hundreds of dollars donation made a difference.
A special thank you goes out to NIA Cultural Center, Galveston County Tea Party,  Bank of America, Crispus Attucks Tea Party, Galveston County Coalition of Black Democrats, State Representative Larry Taylor, Mainland NAACP, Clear Lake Tea Party and the many individuals that supported the program.
Change is never easy.  We need to learn to work together even when working with individuals that may have a different opinion than ours. 

Many of our guests had never attended a Juneteenth celebration.  Some of the people that normally attend chose not to attend because Tea Party members were in attendance.
 First and foremost the event is a public event.  I cannot deny anyone from attending as long as they are respectful of others while attending the event.  Not allowing them to attend  would be a form of discrimination.
Secondly my wife and I are not in a position to refuse help from anyone regardless of race, sex, creed or political party.   Any help or support was very much appreciated.
Thirdly this event has never been just about us.  It has always been a program for the community with an emphasis on bringing families together. 
In an environment where emotions were already running high, I added fuel to the fire by posting two flags. One flag representing the Union & the other the Confederacy.   It was not my intent to offend anyone.
This was not my first time using the flags.  I had posted them at an event April 9th while discussing the beginning of the Civil War.  The Civil War began at 4:30am EST on April 12, 1861.  I also posted the flags on April 12th at 3:29am CST.  Below is the comment I posted on a blog that morning. 

“It is almost 3:30am here in TX (4:30am EST) and I just posted the flags at the entrance of our property. One Confederate and one Union flag. As my wife and children sleep I am thankful for the men that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be a more perfect Union. We are far from perfect, but I do believe we are constantly evolving to that more perfect Union. Take a moment to remember the men and women that died during the Civil War and pray that we may never experience that type of lost of human life again.”
The discussion of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederacy & Juneteenth is one we must have.  Over the next four years Galveston has the opportunity to lead all discussions about the Civil War to Galveston for the 150th celebration of Juneteenth in 2015.

I would encourage everyone to work together to market the entire Galveston County area as the place to be in 2015 to officially celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.  Freedom is something ALL Americans should celebrate.

Photos provided by Lauren Mickens Photography and Alexander.

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