‘We just want to uplift the community’: Juneteenth GVL celebrates 3rd annual gala

‘We just want to uplift the community’: Juneteenth GVL celebrates 3rd annual gala

GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – It’s an evening of royalty, Friday night Juneteenth GVL hosted the annual gala celebration at the Greenville Convention Center.

“We just want to uplift the community, love the community. Juneteenth is a happy celebration especially here in the upstate,” said Juneteenth GVL founder Ruben Hayes.

For the third year in a row, hundreds of people from all over the upstate put on their best evening gowns to celebrate. In years past, over 600 people have attended to support the organization and to celebrate the holiday.

“Once it became a national holiday I pressed my team to move forward and just make this the absolute best Juneteenth celebration we could have here. Three years in a row successful,” said Hayes.

June 19th or Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. It marks the day federal soldiers arrived in Texas freeing the last remaining enslaved Black americans—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

“It’s good to be in a room with people that look like me, and just to be able to celebrate each other,” said Paris Wright, an attendee.

The royal gala features live music, food, art and a freedom marketplace—a space to highlight Black-owned small businesses like Wow Factor Cutiq.

“My business is two years old so coming to events like this help me market it, help me get my name out there, help the people know that I’m here,” said owner Lakisha McCartha.

The event’s organizers say it also helps raise money for a scholarship fund. They hope to see the celebration grow year by year.

“I think in the state of South Carolina, there’s an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to how big we can celebrate this event,” said Hayes.

Juneteenth GVL has two more events including Juneteenth GVL wellness events featuring a 5k run/walk, yoga, and cycling classes on Saturday June 15th, and the 3rd Annual Freedom Ride: Car and Bike Show on June 19th. For more details click here.

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