How to celebrate Juneteenth in Long Beach this weekend

Long Beach will mark Juneteenth—now designated as a federal holiday—with performances, vendors and more at a large in-person event Downtown, and other events throughout the city and beyond.

The Juneteenth celebration Downtown is now “sold out”—it’s free, but participants were asked to register—but those interested in attending can still do so virtually. For details, click here.

The celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Pine Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets will include traditional African drumming, poetry, modern dance, vendors, emceeing by Aundrae Russell of KJLH Radio.

“Our goal is to give (attendees) something that makes them walk away feeling good about Juneteenth and excited to come back and celebrate Juneteenth with us next year,” said organizer Carl Kemp.

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, commemorating June 19, 1865, the day that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing that the Civil War had ended and those who were enslaved were now free, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“I think it is an opportunity for America, and all Americans to pause, acknowledge what makes America great and made America great, was 400 years of free labor and unimaginable terror inflicted upon Black people, and still from that experience was extracted a level of joy, culture, innovation that defines America to this day, whether it be through rock ‘n’ roll, or jazz, or peanut butter, or any number of other huge contributions that Black people have made to this country despite always being treated in some unfortunate ways,” said Kemp.

Some of the event’s supporters include the Downtown Long Beach Alliance, Antioch Church, the Long Beach Post, the Port of Long Beach, Boeing, and the YMCA which will provide kid-friendly activities, and its newest sponsor, Amazon.

The Long Beach City Council recently recognized Juneteenth as an official “day of celebration,” and President Joe Biden signed a law Thursday making June 19 one of 12 federal holidays.

Other events taking in place in and around Long Beach:

  • Self Sovereignty, a group exhibition show and block party in Downtown featuring 13 Black artists showcasing their art in celebration of the holiday, will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 18, at 433 Pine Avenue. The event will also include live music, face painting, arts and crafts and more for all ages. The event is free to attend, but registration is required, click here.
  • Composer and singer Diane White-Clayton will perform at Grace First Presbyterian Church Saturday, June 19. White-Clayton’s performance, in tandem with the BYTHAX ensemble, will celebrate African American culture and heritage through music, song and history. Among her many accolades, White-Clayton is also an impressive soprano singer with a three-and-a-half octave range, lectures on ethnomusicology and is a member of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The show is free to attend and will be indoors, marking the first indoor concert at the church since the pandemic. The show starts at 3 p.m. at the church, 3955 Studebaker Road.
  • Celebrating both Juneteenth and Father’s Day is the  Freedom + Unity Juneteenth Celebration event Sunday, June 20 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The celebration will include live music, art, and remarks from 16 speakers. The free event is from 1 to 4 p.m. Click here for more info. Martin Luther King Jr. Park is at 1950 Lemon Ave.
  • Presented by Black Arts Los Angeles, a Juneteenth Virtual Heritage Festival on June 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The event includes panel discussions, music, and food demonstrations. Register for free tickets here.
  • Enjoy a day of tributes, education, and entertainment, culminating with fireworks over the water at the Port of  Los Angeles on June 19, from 1 to 8 p.m. The port is located at 425 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro.
  • Attend a two-day Leimert Park Rising event at Leimert Park Village in Los Angeles. On June 19 and 20, from noon to 7 p.m. enjoy live music, art, storytelling, and idea-sharing in honor of Juneteenth. View more information and donate here. Leimert Park is located at 4343 Leimert Blvd., Los Angeles.
  • Celebrate Juneteenth with Afro GoGo, the African Fiesta at Catch One. Enjoy Afrobeats and more with music by Blaq Pages, Juan G, and Vonnie Mack, and live performances by Soko7, Kobi Jonz, among others yet to be announced. Doors open at  9 p.m, and the event is 21+ only. For additional information, email [email protected] or message on Instagram here. Purchase tickets here. Catch One is located at 4067 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.


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