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Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Social Impact Leader and ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’ Ms. Opal Lee Brings Book Tour to Jacksonville

September 24, 2021 GMT
Ms. Opal Lee with President Joe RBiden
Ms. Opal Lee with President Joe RBiden
Ms. Opal Lee with President Joe RBiden

Fort Worth, TX, Sept. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Just off of speaking to the the purveyors of human resource policy of major corporations at the national convention of SHRM in Las Vegas, social impact leader and ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ Ms. Opal Lee will continue her  message of freedom in Jacksonville, Florida with several appearances and a book signing of her children’s book Juneteenth: A Children’s Story.

This past June, President Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, with Lee, 94, beside him. She made national headlines with her walking campaign, gained more than 1.6 million signatures on a petition to mark the holiday and earned a credit in the film “Miss Juneteenth”. 

Teaming up with Dr. Belay Reddick on his “Change is Possible Tour”, Ms. Lee will address several audiences while in Jacksonville as well as promote her book at One Bridge Connect on Sunday, September 25 at 3:00 PM. “It is an honor to have the presence of Opal Lee before young black entrepreneurs and the Jacksonville community. Her story will not only motivate but educate the importance of unity and collaboration,” said businessowner Autumn Redding. “Her presence solidifies the mark we have made in the city where we can continue the celebration of freedom that she fought so hard to be nationally acknowledged,” Redding said.

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On Monday, September 26 at 1:00 PM on the campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville, Ms. Lee and Dr. Reddick, a Jacksonville native who spent 16 years in a federal prison and worked his way to becoming a reentry expert which led to him being hired by FedEx Express, will share their life experiences of the fight for freedom and change with the students. “Dr. Reddick has a passion and drive to serve others that is contagious. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him to continue building upon our success as it relates to reentry programs and Diversity Equity & Inclusion initiatives,” said Brandon Tolbert, Vice President at FedEx Express.

“When you look in the dictionary, the word perseverance is defined as persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Opal Lee is the personification of perseverance,”  said Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Lisa Moore. “She never wavered in her drive and belief that Juneteenth should be recognized as a holiday for its importance and place in history, and we are appreciative of her willingness to share her story with the students, faculty and staff of FSCJ.”

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Jacksonville is the second stop on the tour with the first in Memphis, TN in August. As a former elementary school teacher and school counselor, Ms. Opal advocates for the power of education in changing the world, and encourages parents and teachers to utilize Juneteenth: A Children’s Story to facilitate conversation and deeper learning about this important part of United States history. Copies of her book are available on all good online retailers and via Ms. Opal’s website www.opalswalk2dc.com.

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About Ms. Opal Lee

Ms. Opal is the oldest living board member of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) that was founded and led by the late Dr. Ronald Myers, Sr., whose initiative is for Juneteenth to become a national holiday. To bring awareness to the cause, she started her Opal’s Walk 2 DC campaign in 2016, where she walked 2.5 miles to symbolize the 2.5 years that it took for slaves in Texas to know that they were free. Ms. Opal launched a petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday on Change.org, and in September 2020 delivered the 1.5 million signatures it had received to Congress. Ms. Opal believes that freedom should be celebrated from the 19th of June to the 4th of July.  Head to https://adobe.ly/3hs3jg0 for more.


About Unity Unlimited, Inc.

Unity Unlimited, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose main mission is providing educational activities and resources to people, young and old, to foster unity and harmony within the community, the city, the state, the nation and the world regardless of race, culture or denomination. For more information visit: www.unityunlimited.org/     

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Dione Sims Unity Unlimited 682-738-6055 dione.sims@unityunlimited.org