Celebrate Juneteenth with these 11 empowering (and fun) L.A. events
For Shania Accius, founder of the Juneteenth Community Celebration, the Van Nuys event “is just like a family reunion.”
Attendees can expect a welcoming atmosphere focused on building community in the San Fernando Valley at this annual celebration of Juneteenth, which marks when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out they’d been freed on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth is celebrated throughout the United States and became a federal holiday last year.
From Van Nuys to Long Beach, this weekend’s Juneteenth events in Southern California will include live music, games, speakers, workshops, free haircuts and markets.
Xavier Henderson, co-founder of SoulfulofNoise, which is hosting a Juneteenth event downtown focused on supporting kids, said commemorating Juneteenth means educating and empowering the Black community in addition to having fun.
Ellen Garrison Jackson Clark, the daughter of a runaway slave, was a 19th century Rosa Parks, an early civil rights activist whose work was largely forgotten. Then historians discovered she was buried in an unmarked grave in Altadena.
“This is a time for reflection and a time to take accountability for our future,” Henderson said.
Here’s a list of Juneteenth events happening on June 18 and 19 across the Greater Los Angeles area.
June 18: Juneteenth Community Celebration
Make your way to Woodley Park in Van Nuys for a day filled with music, food and giveaways at the Juneteenth Community Celebration. There will also be informative discussions. Marquita Gammage, the department chair of African-American Studies at CSUN, will be hosting a talk on the history and importance of Juneteenth. James Thomas, the president of the San Fernando Valley NAACP, will be speaking about the state of being Black in the San Fernando Valley.
June 18: Juneteenth Unifest
Visit the second Juneteenth Unifest at the Crenshaw Family YMCA for giveaways, live performances, hair braiding and food made by Black-owned businesses. There will also be financial workshops and presentations at this free event.
June 18: Thank You Very Much: A Juneteenth Comedy Show
If you don’t feel up for a day-long festival, check out this Juneteenth comedy show at the Metaphor Club. The lineup includes Chinedu Unaka (“Insecure,” “House Party”) and Chris Spencer (“black-ish,” “The Real Husbands of Hollywood”). Tickets are $20.
June 18: Santa Monica Juneteenth Celebration
Santa Monica’s 30th Juneteenth Celebration has a jam-packed schedule. In addition to a performance by three-time Grammy-winning artist Dee Dee Bridgewater, you can catch dances, writers reciting original work about Juneteenth and DJ sets. End the day at Virginia Avenue Park with closing remarks by LaVerne Ross, the founder of the Santa Monica Juneteenth Celebration. This is a free event.
June 18: Pomona Valley Juneteenth Family Jazz and Arts Festival
There will be more than just jazz at this free event taking place at Ganesha Park. Attendees can expect R&B, gospel music and poetry too. There will also be arts & crafts activities and the park’s swimming area is slated to be open.
June 18: Dena Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom
Enjoy a day of poetry, line dancing, bounce houses, chalk art activities, food trucks, a fashion show and live music at the Metropolitan Baptist Church.
June 19: SoulfulofNoise Juneteenth Festival
SoulfulofNoise, which runs open mic events called Soulful Sundays in L.A., is dedicated to empowering children to believe in themselves. “At that tender age, they’re put into an environment where there’s a bunch of nos and we want to give them a day of yeses,” founder Henderson said in a YouTube video advertising the group’s Juneteenth event. The free event in a parking lot next to soul food restaurant Comfort LA will include health and wellness activities and a creative entrepreneurship workshop to help kids build their own business websites and imagine ways to monetize their talents. Attendees can also get haircuts, which can be purchased with “Black dollars” flowing through the event.
June 19: Juneteenth Prosperity Market
Visit the California African American Museum for a farmer’s market, sound bath, reading hour and children’s art activities. After perusing the prosperity market, head over to the museum to learn more about Black culture. The event, and museum admission, are free.
June 19: A Global Celebration of Freedom
This Juneteenth event will bring Earth, Wind & Fire, the Roots and Billy Porter to the Hollywood Bowl. There will also be a performance by Re-Collective Orchestra, the first all-Black symphony to perform at the venue. Tickets range from $20 to $240. Shuttles to the Hollywood Bowl cost $7 roundtrip when pre-purchased. Check out the Bowl’s BYOB rules and some picnic inspiration before you go.
June 19: Juneteenth x L.A. Black History Festival
Be surrounded by Black culture at the free Juneteenth x L.A. Black History Festival at Westchester Recreational Park. Expect live performances, panel discussions with African American authors, a marketplace and a creative zone for kids. This event is hosted by Open Arms Food Pantry and Resource Center.
June 19: House of Mavens Presents: Be Black
Soak in the sun while enjoying food, live music and sound baths at this Juneteenth celebration in Grand Hope Park. Admission is free but donations are welcome. Donations will go to the Heart of Los Angeles, a nonprofit that runs after-school programs.
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