Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Get The SEQ Scoop On Royal Descendant Venita Benitez And The Liberating Unity Of National Freedom Day

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Activist Venita Benitez
Emerges From Her Royal Heritage To
Unify By Fighting For Freedom

Venita Benitez is a force to be reckoned with. Case in point. When geological research seemed to indicate she was a direct descendant of not only Kings Henry the II, John, and Henry III but Alexander the Great and William the Conqueror, Venita made it her personal mission to dig deeper into the research of her cousin, Dr. James Hamilton, and her proven lineage.

But she didn’t stop there. With her trademark tenacity, she wrote to the powers that be in England and didn’t yield until she’d received a family crest in acknowledgement of her family’s royal lineage.

“In 2006, the Wingfield family invited me to witness the signing of the King James charter to America in recognition of my family raising a majority of the financial backing for the ships that eventually discovered America, ships named The God Speed, Susan Constant, and Discovery,” she said. Venita was invited to return to England in 2006 for a resigning of the charter on its 400th anniversary. (Only 150 invitations were issued and only to descendants of those who’d signed the original charter from all over the world.)

Venita Benitez


Venita credits her unique and varied bloodline with giving her the courage to fight the good fight — wherever she finds it. “I grew up knowing these formidable men were my ancestors. But I was also raised by a Puerto Rican father and a mother who is black, white, and Native American. And I’m a descendant of Morton Deane, who was born into slavery and later served as one of the first out of five black nationally elected city councilmen, during the reconstruction era in Richmond, Virginia, and Edward Maria Wingfield, the first elected president of the Council of Virginia - Jamestown, on April 25th, 1607. This multicultural heritage helps me look at people with clear eyes and see the love in everyone.”

In homage to her family ’s tradition of military service, Venita joined the US Army in 1981. “I was r a i s e d to understand the importance of liberty and duty,” she said. Although she describes basic training as grueling, she learned a lot from serving in one of the first-ever co-ed battalions, Bravo 1-3, marching side-by-side with men. 

“We were labeled ‘guinea pigs’ according to official congressional documents. The idea of co-ed troops was something new, and they just sort of threw us to the wolves.” That challenging time further developed her fortitude.


Venita went on to affect change not only in her 23-year career in diversity and inclusion (DEI) — including seats on Arlington Mayor ’s Black Advisory Council and more recently the Frisco Inclusion Committee by Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney. But she also worked to draw attention to National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month each January—proclamations she feels are issued by each succeeding United States presidents and then pretty much forgotten — and refocusing the nation’s attention on the very real problem of modern-day slavery/human trafficking through her website

She was even mentored weekly by Dr. Reverend Ronald Myers, the founder of the National Juneteenth movement, long before his passing. The desk in her home office is piled high with resolutions and proclamations she has affected and with correspondence from some of the most powerful men and women in Texas, the country, and the world. These documents acknowledge Venita’s unrelenting pursuit not only for recognition of those who suffered in the past but those who still suffer today.

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It was a lecture by Project1619 founder Calvin Pearson in 2007 that lit a new fire under Venita. He was speaking about the first Africans landing in Hampton, Virginia in 1619.

When Venita discovered that ceremonies by the United Nations to honor those lost in the Middle Passage slave trade (International Day of the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade each March 25), were about to launch in New York City, she began petitioning to have a ceremony held in the exact spot in Hampton, Virginia, where slave ships would have arrived out of respect for the ancestors and their legacy. And they won!

A year later, Venita and Calvin were present to lead a ceremony in Hampton to pay homage to the millions who were lost in the transatlantic voyages.  As she investigated and researched further—establishing the Global Slavery Remembrance Committee and serves on 
the National Advisory Board for Project 1619— she discovered the abomination of slavery is not only a thing of the past. It still exists today with well over 50 million people enslaved worldwide, something Venita discovered as a result of a letter she wrote to the United Nations.

“I thought, ‘How can that be? Who’s the buyers and sellers?” Venita said. “This February 1 is the 75th anniversary of President Harry Truman first establishing National Freedom Day to recognize this stain on our national history. How can people still be enslaving other people?


As Americans, we’re guaranteed freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceful assembly, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances,” Venita said. “Together these five freedoms make the people of the United States of America the freest in the world.

As a first-generation American (on my father’s side), I hold my freedoms very dear.” She penned a stern letter to President Barack Obama voicing her opinion for the initial 2010 and 2011 proclamations to draw awareness to human trafficking were being largely ignored.

In response, he sent her the original 2012 proclamation, which included an Executive Order to strengthen protections against human trafficking in Federal contracting. And signed legislation that strengthen our ability to prevent products made with forced labor, including child labor, from entering American markets. 

Venita lobbied the state of Texas in 2012 to issue a resolution to recommit itself to combat human trafficking. In response, they were the first state to do just that.

She bought the domain, not only to commemorate the anniversary of the 1949 proclamation but also to draw attention to the ongoing problem of slavery and the upholding of our constitution and our amendments.


She voiced her concern at a DFW Airport Board of Director’s meeting in 2012 where she pled the case for more awareness of today ’s modern-day slavery, which led to a meeting with the airport vice 
president/chief of police Alan Black, FBI, TSA, Homeland Security, and Traffick911 Executive Director Lindsey Speed. Venita’s efforts resulted in a policy directing that all graduates of the DFW Airport police academy undergo eight hours of training in human trafficking.  “We were the first airport in the US to require this training,” she said. “Now it’s commonplace.”

Venita’s message is clear. If she, as just one person, can draw attention to the problem of human trafficking and affect change, what could an entire city, state, or country do? “When President Obama first established January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in 2010, human trafficking was a $32 billion industry.

Today, that number has more than tripled. “I’m looking to join 
likeminded others in renewing the hope of freedom — for everyone.” The State of Texas has committed by signing the 2024 National Freedom Day resolution.

You can start by attending a Frisco Chamber of Commerce Thursday network meeting scheduled for February 1 at 7:30 AM at Strikz Entertainment (Preston) to help kick off Black History Month acknowledging Major Richard Wright and ring the bell for freedom. Find out more at

As Truman said in his original proclamation, “February 1, as National Freedom Day; and I call upon the people of the United States to pause on that day in solemn contemplation of the glorious blessings of freedom which we humbly and thankfully enjoy.” “Let’s pause this day and in solidarity reflect on our freedoms, our safety, our constitution, and the amendments,” Venita said.

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