The ongoing national conversation about racial injustice introduced many Americans to a holiday then not well known in the mainstream — Juneteenth, celebrating June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Texas finally learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier, on Jan. 1, 1863.
But we couldn’t do much with this knowledge in 2020. The pandemic made public celebrations a no-go, so most Juneteenth 2020 events were muted and, for safety’s sake, virtual.
What a difference a year — and mass vaccinations — can make.
This year, Angelenos have a long list of diverse, real-life events to choose from, from remembrances of an early civil rights activist to community parades and rallies to celebrations involving music, food and drink.
For instance, Margaret and Brandon Williamson, owners of the new PRSVR (pronounced “persevere”) store in Burbank, are providing Afro beat dance lessons and a chance to color Brandon’s Kente Noir designs on everything from wall hangings to bucket hats and T-shirts and to listen to speakers explore the issues of the Black diaspora.
“So many Black Americans don’t feel their African roots, but if we can’t have American roots, we’re left wondering who we are,” said Margaret Williamson. “We want to talk about Juneteenth, the journey of Black Americans and how American culture has come together — how we continue to rise up and how we, as Americans, refuse to believe that the majority of us are hate-filled. The majority continue to push a melting pot vision of America.”
The Altadena Historical Society is using Juneteenth to celebrate 19th century civil rights activist Ellen Garrison Clark, a teacher and the first Black woman to test the nation’s first Civil Rights Act in 1866, who died in Altadena in 1892 and was buried in an unmarked grave.
For Keith Lilly, organizer of Sunday’s Freedom + Unity Celebration in Long Beach, the holiday is all about tracing African American history and legacy “from where we were in 1865 to where we are now.” With five churches involved and gospel music performances planned, the event is designed to educate younger generations on where they come from and teach white attendees that slavery should be recognized as a part of our history but that no one today is at fault for it, Lilly said.
“It happened. Let’s move forward. What can we do to heal?” Lilly said. The educational event will feature art, speakers and dancers.
Here’s a list of other Juneteenth events around Los Angeles, grouped by category. All events are scheduled for June 19 unless otherwise noted. Did we miss your event? Email us at [email protected] and we might update the list to include it.
Parades & Walks
Juneteenth Freedom March & Block Party Celebration, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Charles White Park, 77 Mountain View St., Altadena. This free event, sponsored by My TRIBE Rise, includes a march, live music and dancing, speakers, guided meditation, art and poetry. Food will be available for purchase. stayhappening.com
Juneteenth Freedom Day Walk & Celebration, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting at the lower level of Loma Alta Park, 566 W. Palm St., Altadena. The event is free but registering in advance gets you entry into the Freedom Day Walk and a Juneteenth T-shirt. For those who can’t or don’t want to walk, there is a resource fair designed to bring attention to Black infant and maternal health concerns and healthcare inequities (starting at 10:30 a.m.), mental health panels, free food and items for babies, and live entertainment. Sponsors include the Therapeutic Play Foundation, San Gabriel Valley African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Community Action Team and the Black Mental Health Task Force. Eventbrite.com
Juneteenth in L.A. Drive-Thru Parade, starting at 1 p.m. from Inglewood. The parade will travel to Leimert Park, and those interested in driving in the caravan should register by filling out a Google Form (confirmed drivers will receive a route and more detailed instructions and will need to purchase merchandise from the website to demonstrate commitment of attendance). Pre-parade festivities are planned, starting at 11 a.m. in Inglewood. Last year’s event featured cars decorated with Pan-African and Juneteenth flags and drew a huge crowd in support of racial justice and local Black businesses. instagram.com/juneteenthinla and juneteenthinla.com
Juneteenth400 Rally, 9 to 11 a.m. starting at Los Angeles Harbor College, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington. Organized by Juneteenth400 ahead of the group’s car show and fireworks event later in the day, the free rally will take participants on a 5.6-mile route from Harbor City to the Port of Los Angeles, where the rest of the festivities are set to take place. Facebook.com
Freedom Hike, 9 to 11 a.m. at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, 4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., Ladera Heights. The second annual hike serves to honor and celebrate African American ancestry and bring people together to enjoy the nature of Kenneth Hahn park. Hikers will check in starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Japanese Garden and will cover a 3-mile trail. The hike is free, but participants can register and donate to organizer Health is Wealth Tour through Eventbrite.com.
GiveGood Yoga, 6 to 8 p.m. June 16 at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, 4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., Ladera Heights. Juneteenth in L.A., the organizer of the car parade, is collaborating with WalkGood LA to hold a yoga meditation session as part of its pre-Juneteenth programming. The wellness event is designed to aid in mental stability and promote wellbeing among Black men and fathers. juneteenthinla.com
A celebration of life for 19th century civil rights activist Ellen Garrison Clark, 11 a.m. in the Mountain View Cemetery, 2400 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena. The Altadena Historical Society will remember Clark’s life as an educator and activist and put a headstone on her unmarked grave. altadenahistoricalsociety.org
Picnics & Fairs
The Zawadi Cultural Collective’s Juneteenth Community Celebration and Rally, 3 to 6 p.m. at Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys. The rally, billed as equal parts social event and demonstration for racial justice, includes a “Kidpreneur Korner” for children to practice entrepreneurship skills and sell their crafts, food donations from businesses including Chick-Fil-A and family-friendly activities from games to music to giveaways. Zawadi Cultural Collective CEO Shania Accius sees the community-based nature of the Juneteenth rally as one of its biggest attractions. “It’s to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it’s also a chance to join together, to celebrate — a chance to meet people and connect with people we haven’t seen in over a year,” Accius said. “We want to see you. We want to honor you. We want to celebrate us.” zawadiculturalcollective.com
Freedom + Unity Celebration on June 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave., in Long Beach, is a celebration of fathers and Juneteenth. The event, co-sponsored by the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, Love Beyond Limits and the Port of Long Beach, involves five churches and gospel music performances. There will be gift baskets and prize giveaways for dads, art displays and a big push to combat vaccine hesitancy within the Black community through educational programming. facebook.com/CulturalAllianceofLongBeach
Leimert Park Rising Juneteenth Commemoration, noon to 8 p.m., at Leimert Park Village, 4343 Leimert Blvd., is a community festival of art, live music, dancing, food and salon discussions celebrating Black freedom and “the strength and resilience of black people in this country,” according to the website. Admission is free with advance RSVP registration. leimertparkrising.com
Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., on historic Pine Avenue in Long Beach, includes a DJ, music, dancing, step show, face painting, arts and crafts, and other activities. Admission is free with advance registration. lbjuneteenth.com
Da Poetry Party, 7 to 11 p.m. at Hippo Factory Studios, 2616 W. Jefferson Blvd., Jefferson Park, promises “a live DJ, dope poets and a Black-owned night market” as well as a wine bar, food and limited-edition merchandise at an indoor-outdoor venue. Tickets for this Health is Wealth Tour event are $30 or $50 for open wine bar. Admission is limited, so tickets must be purchased in advance. Eventbrite.com
San Pedro Committee Juneteenth Celebration, 10 a.m. at Peck Park Nature Trail, 560 Western Ave., San Pedro, is open to people who grew up in San Pedro, married a San Pedro resident, or have family or close friends who are residents, to share food, games and “stories of our ancestors.” According to the group’s Facebook page, the San Pedro Committee is a social club that wants to serve the community: “Our goal is to enrich the lives of old-timers, instill a sense of togetherness with newcomers and the generations to come. We want to maintain a relationship and keep in touch.” Facebook.com
Juneteenth400 Car Show, 1 to 8:45 p.m. at Berth 46/Port of Los Angeles, 3011 Miner St., San Pedro. The “day of tributes, education, and entertainment” includes speakers and performances as well an opportunity to view cars and ships in the port. Attendees will enjoy fireworks over the water to culminate the festivities; those interested can get more information on Eventbrite.com and Facebook.com.
Juneteenth Heritage Festival at Watts Historic Train Station on June 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 1686 E. 103rd St., Watts. The collaboration between Build Plus and Black Arts Los Angeles includes live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, rides and a Kidz Corner at a historic site in the neighborhood. blackculturalevents.com
Holly J. Mitchell Juneteenth Celebration & Resource Fair on June 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Earvin “Magic” Johnson Recreation Area, 905 E. El Segundo Blvd., Willowbrook. Masks are required at this L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services event, which is bringing food trucks, music and community services to the area the week before Juneteenth. lacounty.gov
Art & Music
The PRSVR Picnic: A Juneteenth Celebration, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the PRSVR Store, (pronounced “Ppersevere”), 1855 N. Victory Place, Burbank, celebrates Black-owned businesses and brands with guest speakers exploring the topic of the Black diaspora. Tickets are $20 to $50, and include a chance to paint or color in-house designer Brandon Williamson’s Kente Noir designs on wall hangings, bags, bucket hats or T-shirts. The event also includes mini dance lessons in Afro beats. After 3 p.m. the event will feature food, cannabis and wine, and attendees must be 21 or older. perseverelifestyle.com
31st Pomona Valley Juneteenth Jazz & Arts Festival, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Ganesha Park, 1575 N. White Ave., Pomona, features live gospel, R&B and jazz performances, including by Klymaxx, L.T.D. and the group’s former lead singer, Andre Ray. The event also includes food and merchandise vendors, a health fair, food giveaways, a swimming pool, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Admission is free to this event, organized by the Juneteenth Education Technology Mobile Arts Center. Register to attend in person or virtually. Eventbrite.com
Juneteenth Concert, 2 to 6 p.m. at Comfort LA, 1110 E. 7th St., downtown L.A. The concert, hosted by SoulfulofNoise, will feature performances by independent artists and items available for purchase from Black-owned businesses. Bring a pair of socks to donate to an initiative by the nonprofit SockIt2Me. For those unable to attend in person, a Zoom and Instagram Live stream is available. Guests can register for the free event on Eventbrite.com
Juneteenth Jubilee, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Maroon Arts & Culture, 2524 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. The arts organization will celebrate not only emancipation but its second anniversary with morning yoga at 10 a.m., a marketplace of Black-owned businesses from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and an open bar for those 21 and older and an open mic to close out the evening. Attendees can register for the free event on Eventbrite.com
The Fountain Theatre‘s Juneteenth celebration starts at 7:30 p.m., directly after the sold-out 5 p.m. performance of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play “An Octoroon” on the theater’s new outdoor stage, at 5060 Fountain Ave. in East Hollywood. The after-celebration includes dancing with DJ Earry Hall and food and handcrafted items by Black artisans available for purchase. Admission is free. intimateecellent.com
Santa Monica’s Wade in the Water: A Tiny Film Fest, 8 to 10 p.m. in Historic Belmar Park, 1840 4th St., is a free outdoor showing of short films celebrating Black culture and its connection to the water, including the premiere of “Belonging,” a Belmar History + Art project dance film honoring African Americans in Santa Monica. Pre-event activities include food trucks and music by DJ Moni Vargas. Visitors are encouraged to tour the interpretive plaques around the park describing Santa Monica’s historic Black neighborhoods. santamonica.gov
Juneteenth Chicken Pop Up, noon to 4 p.m. at 144th Place and Raymond Ave., Gardena. Sherelle’s Famous Fried Chicken will be serving up its specialty in honor of the holiday; three-piece combos are going for $9, or $11 with a drink and a side. Diners can pre-order their meals on Eventbrite or get more information on StayHappening.
A Night for the Culture Juneteenth Art Show & Soul Food Dinner, 8 to 11 p.m. at Sweet Blessings by Cyler restaurant, 14126 Sherman Way, Ste. 1, Van Nuys, features Black artists doing live painting (organized by ArtLoud LA) and a menu of craft cocktails, beer and small plates prepared by Sweet Blessings. Participants must be 21 or older. Tickets are $30 and seating will be outside. Eventbrite.com
Juneteenth Comedy & Poetry Brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at TenTen Wilshire, 1010 Wilshire Blvd., Westlake. Meal and show packages start at $50 for the event, which promises laughs and delicious food. Sizzles & Giggles is hosting a program of comedians and poets with headliner Howie Bell and offering soul food and drinks. Tickets for food and the show can be purchased at Eventbrite.com
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