By Landlin May, an influential, courageous leader, connecting on a divine level, sharing my passion for community through entrepreneurship, music, and social activism.
What does Juneteenth mean to you? Better yet do you know what Juneteenth is?
I asked several African Americans what Juneteenth meant to them personally and received a variety of responses from, “it was the day Texas slaves were emancipated” to “it’s a symbol of our independence.” In the field of responses, some were radical such as “we are still slaves, we’ll never be free,” and “it’s a day for us finally!”
This direct feedback allowed me to reflect within and analyze my own thoughts about the significant holiday that is not even nationally recognized.
If we rewind in the history of our country, President Abraham Lincoln issued the ‘Emancipation Proclamation,’ declaring that all slaves in the US were free men. There was only one problem – the confederacy did not identify as members of the union so this new “proclamation” would not be respected in southern states.
Finally, 30 months after the original decree to free slaves by President Lincoln in 1863, the remaining slaves in the southernmost tip of Galveston, Texas were freed on June 19, 1865.
Personally, Juneteenth exemplifies the true oppression and passive racism displayed on a daily basis. From the burning of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma (1921), or the 1994 Crime Bill, to the constant victims of police brutality, African Americans in this country are still in search of true freedom.
The one month dedicated to the rich history and prosperity of black Americans is cut short. But, what if the entire country just took a day to recognize black liberation?
For me, the 19th day of June represents the promised land. The bondage to be “no more.” Profiling. Racism. Oppression. How can words that have held so much truth for two centuries maintain their status as trending topics into today’s ever-changing media? We have to recognize our own inconsistencies and work toward unity until those three words are not synonymous with the experience of being a black American.
On Juneteenth, we celebrate the struggles we share and the advancement of colored people throughout the nation. Juneteenth has a plethora of meanings that some can only describe in their personal experience – whether that’s anger, excitement, or liberty is the common denominator.
That leaves me to ask you…what does Juneteenth mean to you?
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○ From St. Pete to the Florida Keys, some FL cities are requiring masks inside businesses for both employees + customers. Currently, in the City of Lakeland, wearing a mask is up to the discretion of local businesses, but it is highly encouraged that you wear a mask if you are in a space that limits your ability to social distance. Visitors coming to City Hall must wear a mask and have their temp taken before entering.
○ Over 75% of Florida’s ICU adult hospital beds are currently occupied, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. On Wed., there were a total of 6,006 adult ICU beds, with 1,409 available. This number varies further by county. You can find out how many beds are available by county here. (Orlando Weekly)
○ On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health announced3,207 new cases of coronavirus and 43 additional deaths in Florida (since Wednesday’s update) – a single-day record for the state. That brings the total number of cases in FL of COVID-19 to 85,926, and the total deaths to 3,061. (Fox 13 News)
○ Nonprofit assisted-living facilityLakeland Hills Center has had an outbreak in COVID-19 cases. Within the 120-bed nursing home, 31 residents + 8 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus and six former residents have died from COVID-19 related causes. This makes Lakeland Hills Center the third elder-care center in Polk County to have 20+ residents test positive and one of five with at least 5 deaths caused by coronavirus. (The Ledger)
○ According to a recent AAA survey, most Floridians are changing their travel plans due to COVID-19. Out of 401 people that were surveyed, 76% of Sunshine State residents say the pandemic has affected their plans, and further data indicates that 40% of people have rescheduled one or more vacations + 39% have outright cancelled trips, altogether. (Tampa Bay Times)
○ Earlier this week, Gov. DeSantis suggested that the rise in cases in Florida may be linked to farmworkers in Florida. Farmworker Association of Florida officials say they sent a letter to the governor in April, asking for state lawmakers to expand access to COVID-19 testing in rural areas. (Creative Loafing)
○ Could Florida become the next COVID-19 epicenter? According to a model created by scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, projections show that FL is one of ten states that has seen a record number of coronavirus cases over the past week, has “all of the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission,” + risks being the “worst it has ever been.” (WFTS Tampa Bay)
○ Wearing a face mask in the summer heat can be uncomfortable at first, but it’s possible to still be comfortable in a face mask over the summer. The CDC recommends masks made of breathable material like woven cotton sheets or T-shirt fabric in light shades that won’t absorb the sun’s heat. Another recommendation is bringing extra masks if planning on being out in public for an extended period of time.
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Lakeland’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
Happy #FBF, LAL. (That’s FlashBackFriday for all you cool cats + kittens.)
The RP Funding Center shared this gem of a photo yesterday morning and asked the question, “Can anyone guess this artist that performed at the #LakelandCivicCenter back in 1981?” Kaylee here, and if I’m being real with y’all, I had no clue who the rocking man pictured was. 🤷 Shout out to my soon-to-be mother-in-law, Frances, for helping your girl out.
The Boss – otherwise known as Bruce Springsteen – rocked out to this set list at the then-known Lakeland Civic Center in ‘81, featuring top songs like “Born to Run” + “Cadillac Ranch.”
Joining him that year included other heavy hitters like Lorretta Lynn, Pat Benatar, Journey – and Frances’ favorite – Mr. Barry Manilow, since she’s a “fanilow.” As we daydream about returning to the RP Funding Center for more cool tunes + concerts, tell us, what’s been the most memorable concert you experienced at the RP Funding Center?
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #LALtoday on social media.
Weather ○ 87º | Thunderstorms |80% chance of rain
TodayIs ○ Juneteenth. The oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. In celebration of the day, the African American Chamber of Commerce of Polk County is hosting its 28th Annual Juneteenth Observance on Sat., June 20 from 4-6 p.m. in Munn Park. This year’s theme is “Honoring the Ancestors of 401 Years, 1619-2020.” The event is free, but donations will go to support the African American Historical Museum of Lakeland. Speakers at this year’s event include Alzo J. Reddick Sr. (the first Black man to serve in the Florida House of Representatives since Reconstruction), Chandra C. Frederick(Polk’s assistant county manager), Leah West(a spokeswoman for US Rep. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee), Maria C. Gallo(attorney) + Robert Doyel(a former circuit judge). DYK Lakeland was the first city in the state of Florida to begin the observance of Juneteenth? (The Ledger)
ForDads ○ In honor of Father’s Day (this Sun., June 21, in case you need a last-minute reminder),we created a lil’ Lakeland-themed DADLib, located at the bottom of today’s newsletter for all the poppin’ papas out there. Another treat for dad? The Federal Bar (124 S. Tennessee Ave.) is offering complimentary drinks to dads on Father’s Day (Sun., June 21) with a meal purchase. DJ Trinidad will be rocking the house and bar staff will be serving up bottomless Mimosas. 👔
Outdoors ○ See ya later, alligator. Due to alligator nesting season, parts of Alligator Alley and all of Marsh Rabbit at Circle B Bar Reserve (4399 Winter Lake Rd.) are closed until further notice to keep animals + people safe. Visitors can still access the dock on Lake Hancock by hiking the Shady Oak Trail to Alligator Alley. Signs are posted at the beginning of the trail informing the public the trail is closed until further notice. Polk County Parks and Natural Resources Division staff will monitor the situation and reopen the trail when it is determined to be safe for visitors. See the map here. 🐊 ○ ICYMI, City of Lakeland swimming pools have reopened, just in time for summer. Watch here to see what new protocols have been put in place.
Number ○ 400+. The number of people expected to attend the “Proud to Be An American/Trump Parade” this Sun., June 21 in Winter Haven. The theme of the boat parade is “Flags, Family and Fun,” and it begins on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes at Lake Cannon at 2 p.m. and ends at the beach on Lake Winterset. All are welcome to attend the parade. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission recommends life jackets + for people to be aware of their surroundings.(The Ledger)
FeaturedJob ○ We’re hiring! If you know that Saturdays are farmers market days, swans are the queens of the avian world + Pub Subs reign supreme, come work with us at LALtoday, and join our team as an Editor. Key responsibilities include educating Lakeland through our daily newsletter and social platforms. Learn more about the position here. ○ Are you a news junkie? Always ‘gramming at local events? Love writing and grammar? Then you should apply for our Digital Media Internship. Must be detail-oriented, a self-starter, and ready for fun! See position details + apply here.
DYK ○ While it lowkey-high-temp always feels like summer in FL, the first official day of summer takes place this Saturday, June 20. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky – making for the longest day of the year, due to a longer period of sunlight. Sound Nutrition(a local sound, vibration, musical, nourishment + wellness group) is hosting a Summer Solstice event to welcome the first day of summer around Lake Mirror (121 S. Lake Ave.) on June 20 from 5-7 p.m. The cost is $7 + activities include a walk around the lake, a talk on how to keep healthy + joyful during summer, a tea ceremony, and a community crystal bowl sound experience. ☀️
Stat ○ Which dig do you dig? We asked you in Thursday’s newsletter, “If you were in the market, what style of house would you be looking for?”35.8% of you preferred Mid Century Modern-style homes, 29.2% preferred Spanish or Meditteranean-syle homes, 22.6% preferred Ranch-style homes, and 12.4% preferred Victorian-style homes. If one of your guilty pleasures is driving around the city daydreaming about living large in a gorgeous Lakeland home, check out these 10 swan-worthy homes on the market. (And, if you make the big buy, be sure to invite us to your housewarming party.) 🏡
WaterCooler ○ The University of Florida is dropping its “Gator Bait” cheer at sporting events, due to the racist imagery behind the cheer. Read more here. (The Ledger)
Home buyers can customize every room of their dream home with Highland Homes’ Personal Selection Studio and Inspiration Gallery | Photo provided
Granite countertops. White cabinets. Chandeliers in the living room. We all have our dream home in mind.
Highland Homes has hundredsof customizable features for homebuyers, via their: • Personal Selection Studio: Physical studio where home buyers can visit in-person to get recommendations and demos from design consultants • Inspiration Gallery: Virtual gallery where buyers can browse home photos, see different design options, and ‘save’ styles they love to return to later
What you’ll need: 1) A few of your favorite things in Lakeland. 2) Your pops or a father-like figure. 3) An extra penchant for cheesiness (though we’re sure your dad could lend you some of his).
We love to #ShopLocal, #EatLocal, and – of course – experience all the great local things our lil’ Swan City has to offer. To celebrate Juneteenth + support local black-owned businesses, for the next several days (when you receive a newsletter), we’ll be sharing a business to support as an act of community solidarity.
So, to start you off on a sweet note, make sure to try out the newly-openedThe Best Blue Velvet Cupcakes (3800 US Hwy. 98 N.). This cupcake shop offers gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan + dairy-free cupcakes. Scroll through some delicious cupcake pics + dream on here.
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