“We did not want to make this exclusively Black,” Hays told the newspaper. “That is not in the spirit of unity.”
Bruce Wilson, a community activist who runs Fighting Injustice Together, said the Peace Center barred him from planning this year’s Juneteenth celebration after hosting the event for the past two years.
A cease and desist order was sent to the current organizers and the Peace Center, threatening to sue if they do not call off the event by May 31.
Wilson said the center allowed Hays’ organization to hold the event on its property, and the activist believes the celebration is now being “whitewashed.” According to The State, Wilson learned he couldn’t use the Peace Center for the Juneteenth event a month ago.
Surprisingly, Hays said the decision to include all racial groups came from his Black board members. They were not pressured by anyone, including the city, to incorporate white people into the annual event.