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San Diegans to celebrate Juneteenth during events throughout the county

a woman waves a red, black and green flag with a white outline of the African continent on it
During last year’s annual Cooper Family Juneteenth Celebration, Marla Cooper, daughter of the festival founders Sydney and Thelma Cooper, leads the flag procession for the opening of the festivities.
(Nancee E. Lewis / For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The holiday marks the day the final slaves were freed following the end of the Civil War

San Diego County is gearing up for its annual Juneteenth celebrations, marking the official end of slavery in the United States through festivals, musical performances and a 5K run.

Juneteenth — a portmanteau of the words “June” and “nineteenth” — is considered the oldest observed African American holiday in the country and celebrates the day the last remaining Black slaves in the Confederacy were emancipated.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery was issued in 1862, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War. It was then — more than two months after the war’s conclusion — that the final slaves were freed, inspiring the Juneteenth holiday that has been celebrated ever since.

Juneteenth has been observed as a state holiday in California since 2017, and President Joe Biden established it as a federal holiday last June.

Here are some ways San Diegans will be celebrating Juneteenth this year.

Friday, June 17

San Diego State University’s first official Juneteenth celebration will be held Friday. It is open to faculty, staff, students and community members and will include a range of activities that encourage intercultural dialogue about the lives, experiences and contributions of African Americans. The event will include food, vendors and performers. Attendees are encouraged to arrive on time for the opening celebration march.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday on Hepner Hall Walkway, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego.

San Diego Unified School District will hold its second annual raising of the Juneteenth flag at 10 a.m. Student leaders of the Black Student Union Coalition will lead the ceremony along with district administrators, teachers, school board members and community organization leaders.

Eugene Brucker Education Center, 4100 Normal St., San Diego.

Saturday, June 18

The WorldBeat Center and Major Taylor Cycling Club San Diego will lead a 54-mile-long Juneteenth Freedom Bike Ride. The event starts at 7:30 a.m., then bike riders will leave WorldBeat Center in Balboa Park at 8:15 a.m., riding through Point Loma, Coronado Island and Imperial Beach. Participating in the bike ride is free, but a portion of the route includes taking the Coronado Ferry, which costs $7 per person.

WorldBeat Center, 2100 Park Blvd., San Diego. More info at worldbeatcenter.org.

The North San Diego County NAACP Juneteenth Celebration will start at 10 a.m. in Oceanside with performances, kids’ activities, free health screenings, a vaccine station and cultural arts exhibit available throughout the day. There will also be vendors selling food, beverages and other crafts on-site.

Pier View Way and North Freeman Street, Oceanside. Visit nsdcnaacp.org/juneteenth for more information.

The Cooper Family Foundation is hosting its Juneteenth Healing the Community Festival from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Memorial Park. Although the family’s tradition began decades ago, the official community event was established in 2001, following the death of family patriarch Sidney Cooper Sr., who was known as the “Mayor of Imperial Avenue.”

This year’s festival features live gospel and jazz music on two stages, African drum and dance performances, health and wellness resources, food trucks and activities for kids, including a brand new bike rodeo from noon to 3 p.m.

Memorial Park, 2975 Oceanview Blvd., San Diego. More info at cfjuneteenth.com/events.

Dishes inspired by the holiday and its meaning also embrace the everyday meal

Artists 4 Black Lives San Diego will be highlighting Black film during its Juneteenth Movie Night at The Jazz Lounge on El Cajon Boulevard. The film fest will start with family-friendly entertainment with viewings of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” starring Brandy and Whitney Houston, followed by “Black Panther” from 2 to 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be a screening of “B.A.P.S.” starring Halle Berry, Natalie Desselle and Martin Landau. Tickets are $10 each, but free for kids 2 and younger.

The Jazz Lounge, 6818 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego. Purchase tickets online at bit.ly/juneteenthfilm22.

SD Melanin is hosting its fourth annual Juneteenth Block Party for adults 21 and older at the Quartyard in East Village, starting at 3 p.m. There will be a selection of vendors selling items such as body care products and clothing, and music will be provided by DJ Prodigee and Mister Hek. Tickets are $20 per person, or $250 for a VIP table, which includes admission for five people, reserved seating in the stage area and a server.

Quartyard, 1301 Market St., San Diego. More info at sdmelanin.com.

Sunday, June 19

Fit, Black, and Educated will hold its third annual Juneteenth Celebration 5K at Chollas Lake Park starting at 7 a.m., with the race taking off at 7:30 a.m. All runners will receive a drawstring bag, finisher medal and a race bib, and the first 50 participants will get a shirt. There will also be a 1K fun run for kids starting at 7:30 a.m. Those who want to participate in the run virtually can do so anytime before the end of the month.

Chollas Lake Park, 6350 College Grove Drive, San Diego. To register, visit juneteenth5k.run.

La Mesa Juneteenth and Friends festival will be celebrated as La Mesa’s inaugural Juneteenth event in MacArthur Park from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a kid zone set up with games, Juneteenth-inspired crafts, an inflatable jumper and a scavenger hunt that incorporates Juneteenth facts. The Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Choir will also perform during the festival.

MacArthur Park, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa. For more information, visit lamesajuneteenthandfriends.com.

Monday, June 20

The San Diego Black Golfers Association will host its second Juneteenth Charity Golf Tournament to benefit two local nonprofits: Epiphany Women In Focus and Paving Great Futures. Check-in begins at 11 a.m., and player packages start at $225 for individual golfers and $800 for a group of four.

Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, 1505 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. To register, visit bit.ly/juneteenthgolf.


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