Juneteenth Celebrations Across San Diego County

In 2021, Juneteenth was celebrated for the first time as a federal holiday after President Biden signed a bill creating Juneteenth National Independence Day

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San Diegans are gathering and hosting events in celebration of Juneteenth. The holiday marks the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on Jan. 1, 1863, but many Black people remained enslaved for years after that executive order.

On June 19, 1865, Union Major Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and slavery in the United States.

The holiday which was primarily celebrated in Texas and the Southeast for many years is now being recognized in many places around the Country.

In 2021, Juneteenth was celebrated for the first time as a federal holiday after President Biden signed a bill creating Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The Juneteenth flag was raised above the San Diego County Administration Building on Friday with more than 100 celebrating the occasion.

“It was very inspiring to see the flag go up today and to know that there are people we can look up to make sure that this happens more often,” Kristina Buckner said.

The raising of the Juneteenth flag was also a teaching moment.

“It gave me chills because when my sons and my daughters who are my heirs see that they will have an idea that steps like this are helping to erase racism right here in San Diego County,” community leader Roosevelt Williams III said.  

The holiday is celebrated in various ways, but many people say it’s a time for education and celebration.

“There are three pillars in that celebration. One is to educate the community about Juneteenth. Two is to feed the community, everybody can get a free plate and a little feel-good music and entertainment [third pillar],” Sidney Cooper of the Cooper Family Foundation said.  

The Cooper Family Foundation hosts an annual Juneteenth celebration at Memorial Park in San Diego.

The significance of the holiday was expressed by many local leaders at the celebration on the Plaza near the County Administration Building.

Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery that takes place every year on June 19. Known by many names — including Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Black Independence Day — it became a federal holiday just last year. Here are four things to know about the holiday and its history.

“My father was a proponent of this holiday Juneteenth, he would always tell us to celebrate Juneteenth like July 4th, it’s Black people's Independence Day and to celebrate and for us to recognize that as a city, as a county and a community is important for inclusion and us moving forward,” Cooper said.

Events Happening in San Diego Celebrating Juneteenth

Saturday, June 18 Events:

Juneteenth Freedom Bike Ride and Celebration

  • What: Major Taylor Cycling Club San Diego and Worldbeat Center are taking riders of all ages on a 54-mile course around San Diego, Chula Vista, National City, and Coronado Island, complete with a Ride with GPS route, then a concert celebration afterward
  • The concert celebration will include information booths, a children's bike rodeo, a special opening to WorldBeat Center's new exhibit, "Pathways to Freedom," and of course live music
  • When: Gather at 7:30 a.m., rollout at 8:15 a.m., concert celebration from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Where: WorldBeat Center, 2100 Park Blvd., in Balboa Park

Community Actor's Theatre and Common Ground Theatre

  • What: Outdoor event with music, dancing, history, storytelling, reflection, vendors, physical art and special guest performances by Devon Stallion and J'Rayl
  • When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: The Jacobs Center For Neighborhood Innovation at 404 Euclid Ave. in the Market Creek Plaza

The Cooper Family Foundation's annual Juneteenth Celebration

  • What: With the theme of "Healing the Community," the event includes educational programs, cultural performances, gospel music and more
  • When: 11 a.m.
  • Where: Memorial Park, 2975 Ocean View Blvd.

Juneteenth Vegan Soul Food Cookout — O.B. People's CO-OP

  • What: A vegan soul food cookout
  • When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Market, 4765 Voltaire St.

The Old Globe Theater's Juneteenth Celebration

  • What: Poetry and music by performers Def Sound, Reg E Gaines and Brittany Taylor; a choir performance by David Dredden and Undefeated; a Juneteenth storytelling by poet Alyce Smith Cooper; a comedy set by Kree Rushing; and a presentation by The Old Globe called "Sucker Punched"
  • When: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Lowell Davies Festival Theatre Stage, 1363 Old Globe Way

Soul Swap's Juneteenth Takeover Market

  • What: Black-owned business products, services, foods, a kids play area. DJ sets will be performed by DJ Drumma Girl, DJ Ash D and DJ D Nyce
  • When: Noon to 8 p.m.
  • Where: 1640 Camino Del Rio North
  • $5 fee per person for entry

Juneteenth and Black Music Month Celebration

  • What: Music, poetry and a dash of history
  • When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Community Room at Scripps Miramar Ranch Public Library, 10301 Scripps Lake Dr.

Sunday, June 19 Events:

Juneteenth Celebration 5k

  • What: 5k and a kid's 1k, medals, T-shirts, goodie bags and more
  • When: 7 a.m. for the adult 5k, and 7:30 a.m. for the kid's race
  • Where: 6350 College Grove Dr.

Surfrider Foundation of San Diego County's Juneteenth "Paddle for Peace"

  • What: Yoga and surf lessons, a beach cleanup, games and a Ocean-friendly community BBQ
  • When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: 8300 Camino Del Oro., La Jolla Shores

Juneteenth Wellness Festival

  • What: The Yoga Bus brings yoga, fitness classes, wellness, fashion vendors, live DJs, art, panel discussions, plant-based food, swag bags and all Black-owned businesses
  • When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Intercontinental Hotel, 901 Bayfront Ct.

La Mesa Juneteenth and Friends 2022 Celebration

  • What: Food, art, music, history, dance, crafts and family fun
  • When: Noon to 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: MacArthur Park, 4975 Memorial Drive

Closures on Monday in observance of the Holiday:

On Monday, all public San Diego County offices, family resource centers, libraries and animal shelters will be closed in observance of the holiday.

County- and state-operated COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites will be closed Sunday and Monday and will resume normal hours Tuesday. Some vaccination and testing clinics will be open.

Essential services such as law enforcement and emergency animal control response will continue through the holiday.

County parks, campgrounds and neighborhood day-use parks will remain open, except for: Fallbrook Community Center, Lakeside Community Center, Spring Valley Community Center, Spring Valley Gymnasium, 4S Ranch Recreation Office (all parks will be open), Valley Center Recreation Center and community teen centers.

All county offices will resume normal business hours Tuesday.

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