USF St. Petersburg students celebrate June 19 holiday

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News at 10) – Juneteenth is a time for celebration and reflection. It marks the date, June 191865 when Texas announces the abolition of slavery. But that was more than two and a half years after slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Students at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg use this holiday as a tool to educate others.

“For me, black history is the commemoration of how far we’ve come,” said Kaniya Gibson, internal vice president of the USF Black Student Union in St. Petersburg.

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“Black history means everything. It is very important to recognize those who came before us and who kind of paved the way for us,” said Anthony Goden who is president of BSU at USFSP.

Every voice in the room rose in song as students, faculty, and community members joined in celebrating Juneteenth at USF.

“We have created a specific type of culture for African Americans. We found a community. I transferred from another university and wasn’t very involved, so I wanted to find my community,” said Gibson, who joined the Black Student Union at USF last year – one of best decisions she says she made as a student. “I made a million friends, so now I’m here to try and bring community to other students on campus.”

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Two individuals with a common goal: to educate their community.

“I know there may be more to do. For me, it’s really important to make sure our black students on campus are served the right way, treated the right way, we’re also treated the right way,” Goden said. “I just want to have an impact in our community. Recognize that this is a holiday.”

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