TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay is celebrating Juneteenth, which is now a national holiday after President Joe Biden signed a bill earlier in the week. June 19 marks the day the last enslaved Americans were set free.
There were several events Saturday to celebrate the day, including a motorcycle ride for justice.
The Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Association Buffalo Soldier’s Motorcycle Club organized the ride. The club was joined by the Tampa Police Department, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, City Councilman Orlando Gudes, and County Commissioner Gwen Myers.
For the second straight year, the organization took to the streets with one goal in mind, to educate the community and nation about the injustices going on in the world.
“This ride shows togetherness,” Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Association Buffalo Soldier’s Motorcycle Club President Anthony Smith “K-Smooth” said. “You have the city, county, police, and mayor. This shows you Tampa Bay is together.”
The city raised the Juneteenth flag over old city hall and shined red, yellow, and green lights at old City Hall, Curtis Hixon Park, and its downtown bridges to further commemorate the importance of Juneteenth.
“My hope is that people see the city lit up and they ask about that so we can educate and inform,” Mayor Castor said.
Commissioner Myers hopes this ride grows every year, and brings the Tampa Bay community together.
“It will continue to grow and it’s going to take all of us to come to this site next year and push it within our community and talk about it,” Myers said.
Councilman Gudes plans to work with the group to bring positive change into more communities.
“So some of those riders who are dangerous on the road, or communities that are upset about the young riders, I think they can come in our community and teach them how to be productive,” Gudes said.