Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews, along with the Long Beach Ministers Alliance, Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine, Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Weed & Seed Program, and the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach, will conduct the Annual Juneteenth Celebration at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave., from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, June 19.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This announcement came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation– which had become official Jan. 1, 1863.
The Emancipation Proclamation had had little impact on the Texans, due to the minimal number of Union troops there were to enforce the new executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
“I am calling out to all my neighbors to join me for this community celebration in honor of our freedom,” said Andrews. “Let this celebration remind us that together we can overcome any obstacle.”
This year’s theme is “Let the Children Sing,” a tribute to our community’s inspirational youth, and the celebration will feature performances by local youth choirs and youth entertainers. The main-stage entertainment will be hosted by the
Long Beach Ministers Alliance. “It is such a joy to be a part of this annual community event, and we hope to assist in helping it flourish for
years to come,” said Pastor Wayne Chaney, President of the Ministers Alliance.
Included at this year’s event is the Annual 6th District Domino Tournament, with prizes and an old-fashioned community barbecue, with free food for the youth provided and prepared by the Long Beach Firefighters Local 372 and the Long Beach Police Officers Association. St. Mary Medical Center will host a health pavilion, which will include free various health screenings. Kids can enjoy a
children’s area with water games, jumpers and more.
The celebration is an open-air festival, so attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for seating.