The year was 2020, I was stuck inside having to quarantine due to a global pandemic. I was unable to vacation, hang out with friends, workout at a gym, coach my basketball team or even work. And just when I thought I was about to lose my mind being trapped on that hamster wheel, another senseless murder occurred. People were outraged. Some standing up for law enforcement, others calling out racial injustice, demanding equality for all. I was screaming Black Lives Matter while having to explain to people I thought were my friends that saying black lives matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t, or that they matter less. I was exhausted! The world was exhausted. We weren't only isolated; we were also divided. We needed healing.
On June 19, 2020, as I celebrated Freedom Day at an intimate backyard barbecue with family, an idea came to me: what if I took a few of my favorite things and brought them all together in one place? Games, physical activities, great food, friends, and family. I realized that with everything 2020 had thrown at us, we could ALL use a day to connect, laugh, and enjoy community. A nostalgic, fun-filled, and stress-free day. Something to bring us all together. A good time. A reason to laugh. A day to remember where we’ve come from and celebrate how far we’ve gotten as we continue the fight for equality. This was the kind of day we could all use.
Soon after Juneteenth Unity Games was born.
Today, I’m proud to say that my idea has become a reality. On the Weekend closest to June 19th each year, you’ll find friends and families from all walks of life spending a day playing games, listening to music, eating delicious food, and being a community. This day is truly for anyone and everyone.
We hope to see you there!
- B'ria Wagner
My daughter, B'ria brought to me an idea she had about an outdoor game day she wanted to plan for friends and family. As she described this adult field day of sorts I immediately saw its potential and knew that it should be much bigger than a fun day for a few familiar faces. I saw it as a community event. Something for everyone. A place to not only have a good time, but a place where we could help uplift, educate, and build our community. She readily agreed, and the planning for this fun, educational, celebration of freedom day promptly began.
We pitched the idea to her dad, Ivan and he was all in, excited to pull his resources and connections to help where he could. That along with B'ria's incredible people skills and persuasive networking ability, paired with my creativity and experience in graphics, marketing, and planning made us a great team to pull off such an event.
And just like that, an intimate, fun day in the park with friends and family has become a day of unity, a day of nostalgia, a day to get out and be active, a day for all to come together and celebrate
at the Juneteenth Unity Games!
- Keyia Gibbs