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'It's a different kind of raffle' | Arlington dealership donates car for Juneteenth participant to win

Opal Lee has wanted to include a car giveaway during Juneteenth for quite some time now, according to one of her neighbor. Now, that has become a reality.

ARLINGTON, Texas — One lucky North Texan will soon be receiving a free SUV thanks to a new collaboration made between some of Fort Worth's Juneteenth leaders and an Arlington car dealership.

The “Grandmother of Juneteenth," Opal Lee, and her granddaughter, Dione Sims, formed a partnership with Frank Kent Cadillac of Arlington so a participant in Saturday's Fort Worth Juneteenth parade could win a free 2022 Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury SUV that the dealership is donating.

Lee has wanted to include a car giveaway for quite some time now, according to her neighbor, Cory Session.

"Over the years, Miss Opal has said, 'Hey, can we get a car?'" Sessions said. "'Can we get a car? I need a car. I need a car."

Credit: Charles Carter
Fort Worth's Opal Lee got the chance to check out the 2022 Cadillac SUV that was donated for her Juneteenth parade.

However, Sims said her family wanted the inclusion of this car to be a catalyst for the "Empowering You" education, job and health fair. The purpose of this July event is to provide access to healthcare, college and job recruitment, financial education, and business information that might have been out of reach for some in the past.

"It's a different kind of raffle," Sims said. "It's not one that's a fundraiser to raise money for us. But it's an investment in themselves."

The Empowering You event is happening at the Bob Duncan Center in Arlington on July 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To get the chance to win the new Cadillac, an attendee of Fort Worth's Juneteenth parade would need to sign up for the July fair, which would put them in the raffle.

RELATED: Watch a special conversation with Juneteenth icon Opal Lee on WFAA

"They'll have to go to at least three of our major seminars as well as visit the vendors that will be there and get the information for themselves," Sims said. "It's about putting knowledge to work. Putting knowledge in the hands of people because we don't want to go back to what it was like when the previously enslaved were freed with very little knowledge of what to do with very little resources given to them."

Getting involved in this was an easy decision for Frank Kent Arlington Cadillac general manager Vince Ferrara, who said he is very well-versed in Lee's story.

"I love Miss Opal Lee's story," Ferrara said. "It's incredible."

Credit: Charles Carter
Arlington's Cadillac general manager Vince Ferrara said he's always loved learning about the history of Opal Lee.

Ferrara said he initially heard about the idea of connecting with the Lee family from his general sales manager, Timothy Goodman.

"I've known about and celebrated for years now, and I finally see Texas and Arlington being a part of that," Goodman said, talking about Juneteenth. "To be able to say I was a part of that when it started was a big deal for me."

Sims said being able to partner with a local Cadillac car dealership is yet another example of how much Juneteenth has grown in recent years.

"Juneteenth has grown not just in prominence here in Texas, but across the nation," Sims said. "And as it's become the national holiday, it's lifting it out of Texas. Lifting the story out of African American communities so that we can show the freedom that's for everybody."

Cory Session said he agreed with his neighbor.

"It's not just about the day the slaves received notice that they were free, but it's more than that," Session said. "It's always been more than that for Miss Opal Lee. I've seen it go from little celebrations in a park here or there to this national celebration recognizing the end of slavery."

To enter the raffle, you have to be at least 18 and have a valid driver's license.

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