The second annual Juneteenth Celebration in Tenison Park on June 17 will mark the first time local organizations representing both the black and Latino LGBT communities have worked together on an event.
The Legacy of Success Foundation, a social, business and cultural organization formed to bring the LGBT community of color together, has joined forces with Valiente, a group aimed at fostering pride in the Latino LGBT community. Other organizations joining the effort are: the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Men of Essence, Club Elm & Pearl, the National Coming Out Project and Dallas Southern Pride.
“I have lived in Dallas all my life, and I have never seen so many GLBTQ organizations come together to celebrate Juneteenth,” said Chris Davis, executive director of Legacy of Success Foundation. “It’s amazing.”
Jerry Martinez, vice president for Valiente, is also excited. “I think I speak for everybody in my club that we are actually very proud and honored to work with them because it is an event where all people of every race should be involved,” he said.
Martinez thinks the collaboration hasn’t happened sooner because of a lack of communication between the two groups.
“I think that’s getting a lot more efficient now. We are becoming more aware of each other’s events, and they want to be a part of us just as much as we want to be a part of theirs,” he said.
The celebration will include food, music and games, such as three-legged races and egg tosses. It will also have a big balloon bounce house for children and a J-Sitting competition, or step show.
“It’s not only going to be a lot of fun, it’s going to be a way of showing unity on this important day,” said Derrick Spillman, public relations director for Legacy of Success. “Among African-American groups, it’s often said that we cannot work together. But yes we can. This event proves that.”
The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the 6200 block of East Grand Avenue in Dallas.
Juneteenth has been celebrated as the anniversary of abolition of slavery in Texas since 1980, and it’s this history that Spillman remembers when asking people to attend the celebration.
“We want every open-minded, non-homophobic person in DFW out at this event,” Spillman said. “It’s always been a day where minority communities stand together proud of who they are. Let’s continue that with a great celebration.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 8, 2007.