By SELENA SEABROOKS
The Dallas Examiner
“The Black family is under assault. This is an opportunity for the unity piece to really stick out. All of the events were designed not only to highlight the strength of the Black family but to show where we can be unified,” Kirk Myers-Hill, president of Dallas Southern Pride, expressed about the upcoming Juneteenth Unity Weekend.
Dallas Southern Pride will host its annual Juneteenth Unity Weekend celebration June 16-June 19. The event includes a myriad of activities encompassing health and wellness screenings, COVID-19 vaccinations, concerts, the Juneteenth Unity festival and pool party, various events at local clubs and the Emancipation Ball.
Confirmed artists include some of the biggest stars in entertainment, including K. Michelle, The City Girls, Yo Gotti, Saucy Santana, Moneybagg Yo and Dallas’ own Erica Banks. The weekend of events will conclude with a signature brunch hosted by Myers-Hill and an unannounced celebrity.
“What started out as an annual pool party that typically happened Juneteenth weekend just kind of morphed into what it was today,” Myers-Hill said.
After collaborating with another promotional group, the foundation for the Juneteenth Unity Weekend was created.
“At my house, we ended up trying to have a couple thousand people come into a private home. It grew exponentially. So, we made the decision to combine and start having it at venues that had larger pools. About five years ago, we added the festival component so it could continue to have growth potential,” Myers-Hill explained.
More than 20,000 people are expected to attend this year’s celebration. In addition to the concerts and parties, Dallas Southern Pride is partnering with The Blair Foundation to integrate events at Fair Park.
They are also partnering with the Dallas Children’s Aquarium to incorporate family- and child-friendly activities.
“It was important to us because that’s a jewel in our own backyard, and we wanted to make sure that Black and Brown youth were able to participate in those sort of things.”
The aquarium event will take place on June 19 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. It will be free to 500 children and 500 adults – one free adult entry per household.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation, which granted freedom to enslaved people, was signed in 1863. But slaves in Texas did not learn of their freedom until two years later, on June 19, 1865, when Union troops entered Galveston. This marked the beginning of Juneteenth as it is known and recognized today. In 2021, Juneteenth became a federally recognized national holiday.
“Juneteenth shows the resilience of all Black people. For us, we’re talking about intersectionality. I’m Black first. You see I’m Black before you know anything about who I am sleeping with or anything. I am very clear about all of us are connected to the Black family and that Juneteenth certainly was just yet another struggle that we had to bear as Black people. It shows resilience, not only for Black people but Black LGBTQ folks as well,” he said when describing the importance of Juneteenth.
To find more information about the Juneteenth Unity Weekend celebration and purchase tickets, please visit www.dallassouthernpride.com.