Empowerment Day on June 15, a sign of “progress” at Cascades Park


As the inaugural Juneteenth Empowerment Day celebration began at Cascades Park on Saturday afternoon, people gathered in the amphitheater to watch African dance and immerse themselves in African American culture.

Dozens of black-owned businesses set up tents near the playground to showcase their products while others checked out what they had to offer.

Food trucks were parked at the top of the amphitheater for attendees to grab a bite to eat or cool off with a refreshing drink while enjoying their afternoon.

Shanna Youman, left, sits at her booth with products from her Trendy GlamHouse business with her niece Jhakaria Perkins, 10, at Cascades Park on Empowerment Day on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

Although Florida observes May 20 as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth is a public holiday observed on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of slaves.

“Progress,” said Shanna Youman, who had a tent selling products from her Trendy GlamHouse business. “It means progress”, that Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday.

A few tents below, Kennedy Davis, 12, owner of Custom Kreations by Kennedy, was selling homemade candles and melted wax.

Kennedy Davis, 12, poses with her products in her tent featuring her company Custom Kreations by Kennedy at Cascades Park during Empowerment Day on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

“A lot of schools and places don’t teach Juneteenth to kids,” Davis said. “I think it’s really cool that people have the opportunity to learn more about the culture.”

Contact photojournalist Alicia Devine at [email protected] or on Twitter @alicia_c_devine. Check out her photos on Instagram @adevinephotography.

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