A growing South Florida tradition, now in its 24th year, continues with the annual Sunrise Ancestral Remembrance of the Middle Passage ceremony on Sunday, June 18, from 5:30 to 8:00 a.m. at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.
The ceremony honors the memory and the heroism of the millions of individuals who endured the horrors of the Middle Passage, or so-called Atlantic “slave trade,” which lasted more than four centuries.
The annual ceremony is one of a steadily growing number of such remembrances in cities around the United States and the world. It is held in Miami at sunrise on the Sunday closest to the summer solstice, which coincides, fortuitously, with the week of observing Juneteenth.
Juneteenth marks the true end of legal slavery in the U.S., in east Texas on June 19, 1865, when the last of the enslaved population received word of the end of the Civil War and of their official Emancipation.
The Sunrise Ceremony begins with a Native American opening blessing followed by a tradition African pouring of a libation and prayers from multiple spiritual traditions, and “Village Talk” – an open forum for sharing of thoughts, performances.
Afterward, there will be offerings of fruits, flowers, grains and other appropriate items are welcomed to be placed on a raft of palm fronds and carried out to sea as a conclusion.
Its location at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park is also significant because this was once Miami’s only official “Colored Beach” during the segregation era.
How to get there
Admission to the event is free and open to the public although there is a toll for Rickenbacker Causeway.
The park is located at 4020 Virginia Beach Drive (off Rickenbacker Causeway. Turn left at second traffic signal on Virginia Key, just before the Bear Cut Bridge to Key Biscayne), in Miami.
It is strongly recommended that participants arrive early as some lanes on the Causeway get blocked for a bicycle event later that morning.
For more information, call 786-260-1246 or 305-8904-7620.