Thousands of Los Angeles County residents will celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday, the first opportunity for many to gather since California lifted most COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week.
Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and about 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the Southern states.
President Biden signed legislation into law Thursday to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday.
“This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” Biden said.
Here’s a list of some of the festivities occurring in L.A. County this weekend.
Leimert Park. The third annual Leimert Park Rising Juneteenth commemoration will be held Saturday at Leimert Park Plaza from noon-8 p.m. and include art, live music, salon discussions, food and dancing.
Watts. Juneteenth Live will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ted Watkins Memorial Park in Watts, with 50 local vendors, eight food trucks, a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic and performances by local musicians and artists.
Inglewood. Juneteenth in L.A. Drive-Thru Parade, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday 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.
Crenshaw. Unifest is a Saturday block party at the Crenshaw Family YMCA, featuring a morning yoga class with the nonprofit WalkGoodLA and a produce market with Summaeverythang, artist Lauren Halsey’s community initiative to bring organic fruits and vegetables to some of L.A.’s underserved neighborhoods. The event will also feature live music and art installations from Halsey. Admission is free. The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. at 3820 Santa Rosalia Drive, L.A.
Carson. Carson’s Juneteenth Rhythm and Blues Virtual Celebration will feature performances by DW 3 and Greg Rose. It will be streamed beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at carsonca.gov/Juneteenth and broadcast on Channel 35 for Spectrum cable subscribers and Channel 99 to AT&T subscribers in Carson.
Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw. A Juneteenth march, rally and caravan will begin at 11 a.m. at La Brea Avenue and Obama Boulevard.
Long Beach. The Aquarium of the Pacific will hold its inaugural Juneteenth celebration in a virtual format, with Baba the Storyteller discussing the history and significance of the day and its traditions through storytelling, music and song. The celebration will be streamed on the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Facebook page and YouTube channel beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Santa Monica: Calvary Baptist Church, the oldest African American Baptist Church in the city, will host a celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday that will include art exhibits, music, dance and food trucks.
Sunland. A Juneteenth celebration will be held at Sunland Park in Sunland from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with speakers, performances and booths for activist groups.
Altadena. Juneteenth Freedom March & Block Party Celebration, starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday 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.
Van Nuys. A Juneteenth Community Rally will be held from 3-6 p.m. Saturday at Woodley Park in Van Nuys including games, giveaways, music and speakers.
East Hollywood. The Fountain Theatre’s Juneteenth party follows its matinee performance of the Obie award-winning play “An Octoroon” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (a separate, ticketed event). From 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, the Fountain’s new outdoor space in East Hollywood will be transformed into a free celebration with a DJ and vendors. 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A.
Costa Mesa. Orange County’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts is partnering with the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation at Cal State Fullerton to present its first Juneteenth event. “Freedom in Full Bloom: A Juneteenth Celebration” features a performance by the Dembrebrah Drum and Dance Ensemble, a creative gardening workshop and poetry reading, among other activities celebrating Black culture from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday. The event, $10 per pod (up to six people per pod), will be at Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.
Pomona. The 31st Pomona Valley Juneteenth Family Jazz and Arts Festival features jazz, R&B and gospel music, plus a performance by Pomona’s first poet laureate, David Judah Oliver. The free in-person event runs noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Ganesha Park, 1575 White Ave., Pomona. The group is also hosting a virtual event Saturday.
Lancaster. The African American Cultural Alliance of Lancaster will host a Juneteenth Car Parade on Saturday. The parade starts at the Thaddeus Steven College S Broad St Parking Lot. Cars should line up beginning at noon — with window paint or otherwise decorated — and the caravan is set to begin at 1 p.m. Those interested in participating are asked to pre-register here. The alliance is also hosting the Juneteenth Black Business Expo on June 26 and June 27.
Times staff writers Siena Giljum and Jeanette Marantos, City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.