Juneteenth, officially recognized as the nation’s latest federal holiday, has vital history that is no doubt instrumental to a better understanding of who we are, what has been accomplished, and what actions still need to be taken.
The day is meant to commemorate the day the last African-American slaves were notified of their freedom, liberated from the chains of tyranny, on June 19, 1865, by being told the Civil War had ended over two months after the fact. The day came over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation — issued by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862 — went into effect on January 1, 1863. The day has been celebrated as early as 1866, but only recently passed the Senate and House of Representatives this year through a bill calling for its national status, subsequently signed by President Joe Biden on June 17.
Many in communities of color around Southern California have organized events that honor this day with music, art, dance, remembrances, and more.
Here is a short list of some of the local events that you can attend and engage in, while learning more about this newest, and most crucial of American holidays.
Juneteenth Freedom March and Block Party and Charles White Park in Altadena:
June 19th at 4:30 p.m. The event hosted by Dena United, Altadena Arts, Soul Force Project and features liberation speakers, live music, soul food, dancing and poetry.
Celebrating the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved in the United States of America, the festivities will highlight many facets of local culture and arts.
Contact: Peace@MyTribeRise.com vis email, for more information.
Charles White Park, 77 Mountain View Street, Altadena, CA 91001, Altadena
Leimert Park Rising
Billed as a two day celebration of Black liberation built to educate, entertain and activate while featuring art, ideas and performances from local talent will include Leimert’s own Grammy Award winning @TerraceMartin.
Located in the Leimert Village neighborhood, and geared towards ‘saving the village!’, the event is a true celebration of Black liberation through culture, commerce and cooperative economics.
The ultimate goal — while graciously accepting donations — is to work towards building the “first ever intergenerational educational arts & music festival powered by THE PEOPLE.”
11:00 AM – 9:00 PM, 4343 Leimert Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Juneteenth Celebration and Resource Fair:
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s office hosts the event with activities, musical entertainment, food trucks, COVID-19 vaccinations and workshops on record expungement, tenant protections and immigration services.
11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. June 18. Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park, 905 E. El Segundo Blvd., Willowbrook.
Registration in advance is required, register here: mitchell.lacounty.gov/juneteenth
Pomona Valley Juneteenth Jazz & Arts Festival:
Encouraged to bring the family to Ganesha Park, the festival will showcase entertainers and vendors, live gospel, R&B and jazz performances.
This year’s historic Pomona Valley Annual Juneteenth Festival will be both live and virtual, featuring Special Guest Artist, Andre Ray, Former Lead Singer for L.T.D. with performances by L.T.D., the musical stylings of Klymaxx, plus gospel, R&B, jazz performances,
Join the celebration with best in food vendors, an amazing marketplace, a health fair, highlighting PFC Farms, and food giveaways (limited).
10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Ganesha Park Pool, 1575 North White Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768
AMC Black Picture Showcase Celebrating Juneteenth
Featuring a range of Black-led films returning to theatres in honor of Juneteenth. June 18 through June 24.
Ellen Garrison Clark – Celebration of Her Civil Rights Activism and a Gravestone Unveiling
The Altadena Historical Society honors Juneteenth by remembering the civil rights work and teaching career of Ms. Clark (April 14, 1823-Dec. 21, 1892), 11 a.m. June 19. Information about her life here. Clark lived in the Altadena/Pasadena area at the end of her life. She was buried in an unmarked grave at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. The society and the local Black community will be unveiling a headstone on her grave during the program. The event is in-person and available to watch live streaming on the cemetery’s YouTube channel.
Mountain View Cemetery, 2400 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena. altadenahistoricalsociety.org