Resilient East Biloxi Inaugural Community Festival
Saturday, June 10, 2023, 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Main St between Division St and Murray St in Biloxi
Thank you to everyone who came out to our first Resilient East Biloxi Community Festival! A special thanks to all of our sponsors, vendors, community organizations, volunteers, planning committee, and everyone who helped put this event together. We look forward to seeing you all at next year’s festival!
Missed the event? See below for highlights and photos!
Join us in celebrating the historic and cultural importance of East Biloxi while connecting with local community organizations and learning about ongoing community redevelopment projects. With this first annual community festival, we seek to build upon the principles of the Resilient East Biloxi program and provide a safe, supportive, and encouraging space for the community to express themselves and celebrate the steps we are taking towards a resilient future. This event will feature activities for all ages including:
- Live entertainment
- Local food and art vendors
- Community organizations & resources
- Historic East Biloxi tour
- Horseback riding & the history of Black cowboys
- And more!
Resilient East Biloxi: Community Champion Award Recipients
For our inaugural 2023 festival, we honored the following eight Community Champions.
As the owner of Griffin and Griffin Construction, a General Contractor, Michael Griffin has made significant contributions to various areas in the community. Michael was one of the nine African American students who integrated Notre Dame Catholic High School. He was also an active member of the grassroots committee, Black Civil Rights Group, dedicated to combating discriminatory hiring practices in local businesses and the City of Biloxi. He currently runs the KOPC Workforce Development Program with his wife Angela Griffin.
Pastor Kenneth Hollins
As Lead Pastor of New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Hollins has distinguished himself as a good steward and visionary for the redevelopment of Main Street and all of East Biloxi. Not only does Pastor Hollins have vision, but he and his church continually invest in the East Biloxi community. He’s also not afraid to get his hands dirty and do a little gardening from time to time as demonstrated by the New Bethel Community Garden.
Under Kay Horne’s leadership, the team, program offerings and students engaged at Program Believe grow more and more each year. Program Believe offers English as a Second Language (ESL) and robust after-school and summer programs, computer literacy classes, and family immigration services. Kay also has a giving heart and is always willing to help community members and ally organizations with her knowledge, connections, and wisdom.
Tyron Burton, or Mr. Tyrone as we affectionately call him, has been a stalwart community leader and businessman in East Biloxi for longer than most of us can remember. Tyrone’s Barbershop is one of the oldest businesses and one of the few remaining on Main Street in East Biloxi. After Hurricane Katrina, Tyrone’s was the first business to reopen. Mr. Tyrone is also a trusted community leader and a fount of information about the history of the neighborhood. When you need to know, ask Mr. Tyrone, and we do.
If you want to know the positive impact that Demetrius Gayden has had on East Biloxi, all you need to do is walk around the neighborhood and downtown and cast your eyes on the amazing murals he has created throughout the city. In 2021, Steps Coalition and the NAACP Biloxi Branch commissioned Demetrius to create the amazing murals on Inez Café honoring Ms. Inez Thomas herself, and the Biloxi Wade-In movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Not only did Demetrius do an amazing job, but he was a world-class ambassador during the process, weathering blistering heat with a light heart and a smile during the process.
Anthony Mitchell Sr.
A long-time Biloxi native, Anthony Mitchell Sr. is a well-known fixture in the community. Anthony was one of the participants in the historic Biloxi Wade-in movement. He was also the president of the Second Liners Mardi Gras Club for 23 years. Anthony Mitchell Sr. continues to serve East Biloxi by spearheading school backpack drives, easter egg hunts, and other activities to support the children in the community. He also helps the City of Biloxi to maintain John Henry Beck Park.
John Kemp is a US Army veteran who has shown his endless support and good-natured enthusiasm for the East Biloxi community. If something’s happening in East Biloxi, you’ll most certainly find John Kemp lending a helping hand. John was the first African American director of casino security in Mississippi. He has also been an excellent mentor for the local youth and serves as an exemplary role model, especially for those with an interest in pursuing a military career.
Lee’s International Market
Lee’s Supermarket is an important local business and cornerstone of East Biloxi and its Vietnamese community. This family-owned grocery store is always willing to donate to and support community projects. During the recovery period after Hurricane Katrina, Lee’s Supermarket purchased a gas station in Gautier so that they could still provide culturally appropriate foods during the community’s time of need.
Historic Tour Sites
The map below shows the 14 locations highlighted during the festival for their historic and cultural importance. Click on the locations to learn more about them!
Historic Black Cowboys Informational Poster
2023 Community Festival Sponsors
Community Festival Steering Committee
For questions contact Qiyamah Williams at email@example.com