Gulfport community leaders hold second annual Juneteenth ecumenical service

Gulfport community leaders hold second annual Juneteenth ecumenical service
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) – Gulfport community members, churches, and clergy all gathered with the goal of celebrating African-American heritage and promoting unity within our coastal community.

The second annual Gulfport City-Wide Juneteenth Celebration Griots Society kicked off Wednesday night at Morning Star Baptist Church.

Pastor John Whitfield said the program highlights African-American freedom and achievement.

“What you see throughout this congregation is many different people, many different walks of life. Many different denominations and organizations coming together,” Whitfield said.

The Harry C. Tartt ecumenical service helps facilitate the notion of Juneteenth and remembering activist Reverend Tartt.

“He was very active throughout the civil rights movement, he’s an awesome and kind individual,” Whitfield said.

The program was filled with songs, prayer, Guiding Light Honorable Recognitions, and the presentation of the Harry C. Tartt Trailblazer Awards.

State Policy Director of Southern Poverty Law Center Sonya Williams Barnes served as the guest speaker.

“Juneteenth to me means freedom,” Barnes said. “I will be sharing with those in attendance how to get freedom. We get that freedom by the power of voting. I’m really excited to have all of our community together celebrating our freedom.”

The night celebrated cultural accomplishments and the drive to educate all ages about Juneteenth.

“From babies into the 90s, I even got a call from one of the oldest people in Gulfport 104 years,” Barnes said.

“What we’re seeking to do is bring people together across the city of Gulfport,” Whitfield said.

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