- August 14, 2019
To commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Massacre, the city of Ocoee — in conjunction with the Human Relations Diversity Board — will host Ocoee Remembers 2022 Friday, Nov. 4; Saturday, Nov. 5; and Sunday, Nov. 6.
This year’s event will celebrate and honor those who lost their lives in the massacre and their descendants.
“One descendant mentioned that as African Americans, what we do is celebrate life,” Commissioner George Oliver said. “When you attend an African American funeral, a lot of the programs will have a celebration of life. That’s why we came up with the Unity Festival — to be able to recognize them as descendants but also be able to remember their ancestors in a manner that would actually bring light to who these people were.”
HRDB member Jay Carr believes this event is necessary for the community to build an understanding of what took place during the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Massacre.
“A lot of people in the area have no knowledge of what (it) was, and the ones who have knowledge don’t really know about it,” he said. “We need to understand and remember what happened in the past to never let it happen again.”
Ocoee Remembers 2022 will address tough topics that often aren’t discussed.
“(People) can expect to be educated on what happened in the Ocoee Massacre — what happened and why it happened,” Oliver said. “They can expect to be educated on voting, because that’s why the Ocoee Massacre happened. The importance of getting out to vote transitions through culture, through race and through ethnicity. It transitions a message to all of us. People will see a community that has come together to recognize the past and honor it, and to celebrate life.”
Oliver said Ocoee residents are looking forward to the weekend and he is excited about the growth the city has shown over the years.
“When I talk to my neighbors and folks in the community, we talk a little bit about the Ocoee Remembrance, we talk about the Ocoee Massacre, and we talk a little bit about where we are today,” he said. “The message is very positive; folks are very excited. They are excited to overcome such great odds.”
To Oliver, this event represents a fulfillment of a goal he set in 2015.
“I (said) that I would always honor our past, but I would also celebrate how far we’ve come,” he said. “When I can celebrate how far we’ve come, it gives me hope for the future. So, this is very important event to me when it comes to unifying our city, because we can have those tough conversations from different cultures but we can also come together as a community and say we are moving in the right direction as a community and that we want to continue to move forward together.”
Descendants will come from all over the country, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia.