Enjoy Community Events, Inspiring Speakers and Block Parties!
While a rather new official holiday in our country, Juneteenth is perhaps one of the most important and meaningful days we celebrate. On June 19, 1865, more than 250,000 slaves were finally freed in Texas once news of the abolition arrived via Union troops. Though June 19 has always been a monumental day in American history, it did not become a federal holiday until 2021. Thanks to the efforts of Lula Briggs Galloway and Opal Lee, Juneteenth is now a nationally recognized day of celebration and remembrance. While supporting Black-owned businesses is always an important way to support the community and stand in solidarity, LA is also home to several Juneteenth celebrations that you won’t want to miss.
Head to El Segundo for the beach town’s second annual Juneteenth Festival. This outdoor festival takes place from noon to 6 p.m. on June 19 and is open to everyone. Gather with friends and family as you celebrate Emancipation Day and partake in a variety of activities for people of all ages. Kids will be able to hang out in the kids’ zone or partake in arts and crafts while adults can listen to live music and inspiring speakers. There will also be bites provided by Black-owned food trucks and vendors along with exciting contests and raffles.
Location: El Segundo
The Leimert Park Juneteenth Block Party with Cadre is the perfect opportunity to celebrate connection, community and culture. The block party starts at 10 a.m. and will last until late into the evening. Dance to soulful music and immerse yourself in the interactive art installations that commemorate and celebrate Black history and accomplishments. Need to kick back and take a break? Post up in the lounge area with a drink in hand from the cafe in between performances. Heads up: attendees must be of legal age.
Location: Leimert Park
Despite the fact that Juneteenth didn’t become a federally recognized holiday until a couple of years ago, Santa Monica has been celebrating for more than 30 years. The 31st Annual Juneteenth Celebration in Santa Monica is a chance for families and friends to gather over live jazz, soul, blues and reggae performances in Virginia Avenue Park. Attendees will also be able to shop from more than 20 different vendors that specialize in everything from traditional African carvings to handmade jewelry. The celebration will take place on June 17 from 1 to 7 p.m., and children of all ages are welcome.
Long Beach is gearing up to throw one of the biggest and boldest Juneteenth celebrations. The Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 17 and is taking place downtown at the Rainbow Lagoon. This family-friendly event will feature powerful guest speakers that are meant to both inspire and educate. Note that this event will be on Saturday the 17th instead of the actual holiday, ensuring that you can attend more than one Juneteenth celebration this summer.
Location: Long Beach
On Sunday, June 18, the Mid City West Neighborhood Council and the Greenway Arts Alliance are taking over the popular Melrose Trading Post for the second annual community celebration. This free event is the ideal opportunity to support the arts and Black-owned businesses and vendors. The celebration is happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is sure to be a party! Despite the fact that it’s free, you do need to register for tickets beforehand, and it’s very likely to sell out.
Location: West Hollywood
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What better way to celebrate the resilience and strength of the Black community than with a well-deserved day of rest and wellness? Enjoy back-to-back relaxation on June 18 at the California African American Museum’s Juneteenth Wellness Day. Start the morning off with a restorative, 60-minute yoga class at 10 a.m. led by Constance Hartwell. At 11 a.m., enjoy the magic of a Sol & Sound group meditation and sound bath. Be sure to bring your own mat for both classes and arrive early since it’s first come, first served.
Spend your Saturday on June 17 listening to soulful tunes at the Culver City Juneteenth Celebration & Resource Fair. This free, community-oriented festival will have everything from professional dancers and drummers to an amazing Black business expo. Though the event is only taking place for a few hours (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), there will be tons to explore and try, including family-friendly activities and an array of tasty eats from local food trucks. There will also be a handful of guest speakers there to headline this inclusive and exciting celebration of freedom and support.
Location: Culver City
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Get outdoors and celebrate the holiday in nature at three of LA’s biggest county parks. The Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation will be offering several free events at Loma Alta Park, Jackie Robinson Park and Mona Park. Enjoy parades, photo booths, live music, food and inclusive games that everyone will love. There will also be live poetry readings and informational booths so that community members and supporters can experience a more personalized take on what this holiday truly stands for.
Location: Various locations; see website for dates and times
Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.