The Honorable Jeb Bush|
State of Florida
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Dear Governor Bush:
The Jacksonville Juneteenth Celebration, an affiliate of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF), chaired by Yolanda Dean, will be hosting a National Juneteenth Press Conference and luncheon at the Omni Hotel, beginning at 11:00am, next week, March 24, 2001, in Jacksonville, FL. As the Chairman of the NJOF and the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC), I am honored to be invited to speak in Florida where Juneteenth has been recognized as a state observance since 1991. Former State Representative Alzo Reddick should be commended for providing the legislative leadership to gain statewide recognition for America's 2nd Independence Day Celebration, the "19th of June" recognized by the Congress of the United States in 1997.
However, I am concerned about your veto of $50,000.00 in Juneteenth funding in 1999 and would like to know the reasons for your actions. I would like to be informed because your decision appears to be quite insensitive and contrary to your stated desire to build bridges with the black community, especially in a state where tourism is a key industry. Juneteenth and other Emancipation Day historic celebrations throughout the state, including Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Haines City, Dunnellon, Ebro, Deltona, Palm Coast, Tallahassee, Miami, Broward City and Plant City, like other key organizations promoting tourism in Florida, need financial support and your active participation as Governor of Florida.
Juneteenth is recognized as either a state holiday or statewide observance in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Idaho and soon Alaska. Many more states including Maryland, Virginia, New York, California, Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio, Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Indiana, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Mississippi and Montana have recognized Juneteenth Independence Day through legislative resolutions and the future introduction and passage of Juneteenth State Holiday Bill legislation.
I have enclosed a copy of my correspondence to President George Bush concerning the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign and our WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2001 National Holiday Observance, at the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and the U.S. Capitol Grounds, June 15-19, 2001, in Washington, DC. You are cordially invited to speak at WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2001 and attend the 2nd Annual National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Slavery, on the "19th of June" in Washington, DC.
Thank you for your consideration of these matters. Look forward to hearing from you soon regarding an explanation of your 1999 Juneteenth funding veto before the press conference next week. I certainly hope that you will rectify the situation and include funding for the observance of Juneteenth in the state of Florida as soon as possible. Your leadership in this matter is of paramount importance.
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
cc: Dr. Alzo Reddick
Yolanda Dean, Director-Jacksonville Juneteenth Celebration
Jeannie Blue, Florida State Coordinator-National Juneteenth Holiday
Campaign & Director-St. Petersburg Juneteenth Family Festival