‘It’s an expression’: Local activists light bridge red, black and green for Juneteenth despite state directive

Main Street Bridge was lit to commemorate the holiday for 19 minutes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition, a local civil rights group, and others lined the Main Street Bridge to light it red, black and green for Juneteenth on Wednesday night.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free after the Civil War, and two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

The organization came together Wednesday night, since the Acosta Bridge will only be lit in Red White and Blue through Labor Day.

That’s because the Florida Department of Transportation joined the Governor’s “Freedom Summer” initiative.

RELATED: Jax pride group walks Main Street Bridge as a response to Acosta Bridge’s patriotic lighting through Labor Day

Northside Coalition President Kelly Frazier, daughter of the late Ben Frazier, a longtime Jacksonville activist, said the group wants to commemorate the important holiday, despite the state’s restrictions.

“We are lighting the bridge for Juneteenth in red, black, and green to honor all Black Americans who literally fought for their freedom from slavery; who suffered systematic discrimination and violence; who organized, marched, bled, and died for civil rights; and who persevere even when obstacles are thrown in front of us today that disrespect us and attempt to disempower us,” Frazier said. “We are here to say that we shall continue to overcome!”

She also said having everyone show up and come together for this event, “means everything.”

“It’s a celebration of people. A celebration of our culture. Celebration of freedom. It’s an expression,” Frazier said.

Nubian Roberts, with Black Power Rising, talked about the message she wants this measure to send to the people in Jacksonville.

“I think the people of Jacksonville are going to be excited to see us really do this action, because who doesn’t want to be included? Everyone in this city wants to be included; we are a city that is all about that,” Roberts said. “Our liberation is everything we want to be able to show that all the time.”

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