On June 19, 1865, Major-General Gordon Granger arrived with 2,000 Union troops in Galveston Bay, Texas, heralding the end of the Civil War and the liberation of the 250,000 enslaved in the state. The announcement came two and a half years after President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, but due to a small number of Union troops, his executive order has largely not been enforced in Texas. The day became known as Juneteenth, although it is also called jubilee day, freedom day, liberation day and emancipation day.
Around the same time the following year, in Texas, the celebrations began to take hold, mostly hosted by local church groups. In the decades that followed, these festivities spread across the southern states, often involving copious amounts of food, gospel choirs, and dancing. Juneteenth gained even greater momentum with the great migration and civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s, with celebrations in black communities across America.
Yet despite being the oldest holiday that celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States, outside of black communities, Juneteenth was not a widely recognized holiday until last year. When the video of George Floyd’s murder was released just before Memorial Day 2020, it sparked a nationwide reckoning and a call for greater accountability for how racism has taken root throughout society. American. When Juneteenth arrived in the following weeks, many took the opportunity to learn more about the little-known historic event, even though lockdown orders prevented us from celebrating together in person.
Fortunately, Juneteenth is finally getting the attention it deserves, with the Senate voting unanimously to designate it as a public holiday recognized by the federal government. And with Los Angeles reopening fully for the first time since before March 2020, there are plenty of ways to celebrate at real in-person events happening all over the city. But among all these celebrations, let us not forget the commitments we made to show ourselves to our local black communities and to support their fight for equality and justice. We still have a long way to go and we need everyone’s participation if we are to create real and lasting change.
Here are 12 ways to celebrate Juneteenth in and around LA this weekend, from free barbecue to black-owned markets, live music and more:
YMCA of Crenshaw
UNI Fest is a celebration of you and me (you get it?) And our ability to come together and do great things. The full-day block party will include a morning yoga class led by Walk well LA, well-being fair for children from YogaSmall, group dance lessons from Old Skool Skinny, product market Summa Everythang Community Center, BIPOC marketplace for Our piece of the pie, and art installations by Halsey who partnered with the curator of music Barrington darius to create visuals for a live music scene, with sounds by Soulection. The produce market opens at 7 a.m., yoga flow is at 10 a.m., and the block party runs from noon to 10 p.m.
Urban wood kitchen barbecue (Inglewood)
In partnership with the Inglewood Chamber of Commerce, The Wood Urban Kitchen BBQ will be offering a free barbecue to celebrate June 10. Last year they fed over 1,300 people and this year their goal is to feed 2,000 hungry people. Pull up and grab a plate from 1 p.m. until they are exhausted, with music from Mak-ski. To donate food, cash app $ thewoodbbq or venmo @thewoodbbq.
Leimert Park Village
Leimert’s June 10 celebrations have been going strong for 40 years, and in 2018 they became Leimert Park Rising, a celebration of black freedom that honors ancestors as well as the community. It is the only two-day celebration of June 15 in the city (11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday), featuring art, music and discussions with community leaders, with the aim of building a more cooperative neighborhood. Volunteers are still needed and donations are encouraged.
Watts Historic Station
During the Great Migration, many African Americans from the South to Los Angeles arrived at Watts Station. Then, in 1965, after the Watts Riots, Watts Station was the only structure left intact along 103rd St, and became a symbol of hope and resilience for the surrounding community. Learn this history and more at this heritage festival hosted by Build more and Black Arts Los Angeles, with shows, food trucks, crafts, vendors, rides and a Kidz Corner from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you’re still hesitant to celebrate June 16 in person, you can attend this year’s African-American Composers Series Closing Reception on June 15 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the William Grant Still Arts Center and live streamed online. Conductor and musician Marcus L. Miller is hosting a retrospective concert that will highlight musicians from the past while inducting new talent, with Kamau Daáood, Dwight Tribble, Gregg Wright, Maiya Sykes, Dexter Story, Mark Broyard, Derf Reklaw, Dale Williams, Sandra Booker, and many more. To watch, RSVP to [email protected] and wait for further instructions.
Brown arts and culture (Burbank)
This open-air festival is not just a celebration of June 15, it is also the anniversary of Maroon Arts & Culture, an arts organization that celebrates the culture, history, rituals and traditions of the African Diaspora. . The theme this year is “Performing Heritage” and they start the day at 10:00 am with yoga and a guided meditation where they sit in gratitude for their ancestors. Next, they’ll host a black-owned market with vendors, live music, and art installations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and close their jubilee with an open mic event that starts at 5 p.m. If you need a boost of confidence before you take the stage, rest assured that they will have a bar open from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Artists of all types are encouraged to register. All activities will be broadcast on Youtube for those who prefer to join at ease at home.
Baptist Church of Calvary (Santa Monica)
Celebrate Juneteenth in the oldest African-American Baptist Church in Santa Monica, with live performances, a drum line, a step performance, spoken word, gospel dances, percussion and West African dances , as well as other vendors and food trucks. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but food trucks are only available from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Comfort LA (DTLA location)
This Juneteenth concert is a celebration of the past, present and future of black culture, with live performances by independent artists and a marketplace featuring black-owned businesses. In addition, it is hosted by Comfort LA, so you can grab some of their famous fried chicken wings or cornbread to snack on while you listen and shop. They also encourage participants to bring packages of unworn socks which will be donated to the association. Sock for me. The concert and the pop-up take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
1921 Blake Ave, 90039 (Frogtown)
This pop-up features over 70 black-owned vendors, ranging from candles and crystals to clothing, cosmetics and more, as well as a photo booth, games and music from DJ Looney and Toney Handsome. Three well-stocked bars are available, along with Jamaican food, soul food, tacos, and gourmet burgers to help you shop.
Sip & Sonder (Inglewood)
Black-owned Sip & Sonder Cafe hosts a June 10 celebration that highlights four black entrepreneurs: Chief Rashida of Bridgetown Roti with freshly made Caribbean street food, a florist Amber May with bouquets of flowers, For the love of us with the essentials for mind and body, and DJ Big Baby Ash providing the tunes. The event is sponsored in part by the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Rams and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Martin Luther King Park, Jr. (Long Beach)
The Juneteenth festivities will continue on Sunday June 20, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with this educational event that serves as a double Father’s Day and Juneteenth. Co-sponsored by Long Beach Cultural Alliance, Love beyond limits, and the Long Beach Harbor, this celebration will inform attendees about the history of Juneteenth and highlight black elected officials and civil rights leaders. You can expect evangelistic performances, art exhibitions, prizes and gifts, as well as health education about the COVID vaccine to help fight reluctance.
San Manuel Stadium (San Bernardino)
The Inland Empire 66ers face the Lake Elsinore Storm this June in a minor league baseball game that will also commemorate the 101st anniversary of the formation of the Negro League, which gave us baseball legends like Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, as well as dozens of other players who never got the big league recognition they deserved. The event will feature fireworks and special jerseys and hats on the pitch. The game starts at 7 p.m.
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