Jun 1, 2024

Kimberly Watson, a force behind Pensacola’s Juneteenth Celebration

Kimberly Watson, representing the Watson Firm alongside the Watson Family Foundation, has played a pivotal role in organizing Pensacola’s Juneteenth festivities, driven by a genuine love for the community.

When asked about the genesis of this event and its inspiration, Watson shared that the idea emerged during a firm meeting while brainstorming ways to give back to their community. As June approached a few years ago, she noticed an absence in Pensacola’s event calendar, particularly in commemorating Juneteenth. Recognizing the historical significance of this event, Watson proposed the idea of hosting a Juneteenth festival to honor its cultural importance and fill the void in the community. 

This year will be the third annual event.

The initiative taken to honor Juneteenth has been truly remarkable, eliciting overwhelmingly positive responses both from the foundation’s standpoint and within the community. Watson highlighted the heartwarming sight of people from all walks of life coming together in a spirit of celebration and unity during the inaugural event and subsequent festivities. She emphasized the inclusive nature of the event, catering to individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life, fostering an atmosphere akin to a joyous family reunion where lasting memories are made. 

Furthermore, the unwavering commitment of the Watson Family Foundation to give back to the community is evident in their channeling all proceeds from events like the Juneteenth festival toward initiatives such as scholarships, hardship relief and community outreach programs. Watson expressed gratification in witnessing the tangible impact of these efforts on the lives of those in need, further fueling their dedication to serving the community. 

Despite challenges such as inclement weather, Watson shared that the resilience and enthusiasm of attendees have remained steadfast.

The Juneteenth festival has been fortunate to host esteemed performers and attractions, including comedians and bands, elevating the overall experience for guests. From the interactive kids’ zone to the diverse array of vendors, including many black-owned businesses, the festival epitomizes a sense of unity and celebration, resonating deeply with attendees.

Pensacola’s Juneteenth festival has become a cherished community event, fostering camaraderie and celebrating diversity. Watson’s insights into the inspiring journey behind its creation and the enduring positive impact it continues to have on the community serve as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives in fostering meaningful change and unity.