Hundreds of community members gathered at Bridgeport Park to celebrate Juneteenth, Friday.
Local activism groups SCV for Change and SCV Workers for Equal Opportunity, in association with Real Generation Z, organized a socially-distanced Juneteenth picnic celebration on Friday. The event was honoring the 155th year since the total emancipation of enslaved African-American, officials said.
Juneteenth — which gets its name from a portmanteau combining “June” and “19th” — is a widely recognized holiday that commemorates the freeing of the last enslaved African-Americans living in Galveston, Texas, a part of the Confederate South, on June 19, 1865. They received word they were free more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
“It’s a celebration of our independence. I know that Independence Day is in the 1700s, but that’s not our independence day,” said Lauryn Valley, an organizer for the event.
The goal of the event was to not only bring together the Santa Clarita community, but to also “show love to local Black-owned businesses, and highlight athletes, performers, art, and other work,” according to event organizers.
One featured vocalist spoke on the honor of performing at the Juneteenth event.
“I was really, really excited to do it,” Zoe Rex, a local musical artist said. “All of this energy here right now is so incredible. It just feels good to be able to talk to everybody here and know that they all have the same mindset and the same agenda.”
A raffle was set up with prizes from local Black-owned businesses, with proceeds benefiting the Build Power and Black Lives Matter L.A. Youth organizations.
Black-owned businesses included in the raffle were Rae Solar, DR Cookies Co., Beautiful I am, Buttafly Jonez, Happy Faces Co., Hair by Keshana, Krissy’s Handmade, Tonight Never Ends, DJ’s Mobile Car Wash, Embodied Essentials, Madison Rose Bakery, The Consciousness Doula and Sweetly Ever After Bakery.
The event was geared towards all ages, with many families with young children attending the event.
“I think it is important to bring up these conversations with children when they are still young and make it something that they are not scared to talk about,” said Stephanie Hamadto, who brought her five year old daughter, Kenzie Hamadto, to the event.
This year’s Juneteenth event gained a lot of traction during the recent Black Lives Matter movement in Santa Clarita.
The movement erupted after the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died in police custody after being arrested in Minneapolis.
“I want (the community) to see this is what the reality is, this is what you’re ignoring. And if you’re ignoring it you’re part of the problem unless you’re trying to fix it,” said Vincent Rangel, a demonstrator at Thursday’s Black Lives Matter event.
Ed note: David Melnarik contributed to this report.Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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