Juneteenth celebrations to highlight weekend

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By Shirley Hawkins

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — Juneteenth celebrations will be held throughout Southern California this weekend to commemorate the day in 1865 when African Americans in Galveston, Texas first heard they had been freed President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

Now a national holiday, Juneteenth will be celebrated with a variety of events, including concerts and parades June 17-19. 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell will hold her third annual Juneteenth Celebration and Resource Fair, a free community event that raises awareness of the historical impact of Juneteenth from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 18 in conjunction with CicLAvia, a car-free street festival taking place along Vermont Avenue between Exposition and Century boulevards

The event includes live performances, food trucks, activities, and access to community and county services. Those wanting to access community services must register in advance at https://mitchell.lacounty.gov/juneteenth2023

Only people-powered vehicles are allowed along Vermont. No electric scooters, electric skateboards, hoverboards, electric unicycles, motorcycles and other non-people-powered vehicles are allowed, with the exception of motorized wheelchairs.

A day of culture, food and fun will be featured at the annual Leimert Park Juneteenth Block Party hosted by Cadre from noon to 9 p.m. June 19.

The festival includes three main stages, two DJ stages, one spoken word stage, a conversation lounge, a variety of art and educational exhibits and interactive installations that celebrate African American heritage, history and achievements. The block party will be held at 4331 Degnan Blvd. 

A taste of Mardi Gras will be celebrated at a street festival starting at 11 a.m. June 17 at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 1977 W. Jefferson Blvd. 

Among the invited guests are Mayor Karen Bass, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Heather Hutt, U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager, state Sen. Steven Bradford.

The festivities will kick off at 9 a.m. with a Nike LA and Keep it Run Hundred with a 5K run or 1 mile walk at Leslie N. Shaw Park, 2223 W. Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles. Participants can register for the run/walk at https://www.nike.com/experiences/details/1685140282331.

The run will be followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. to mark the naming of the New Orleans corridor at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, followed by a celebratory line parade to Harold and Belle’s restaurant at noon.

Live entertainment will begin at 12:30 p.m. at 2920 W. Jefferson Blvd., with performances by Irvin Mayfield, Terrance Martin and Friends and 1500 or Nothin and DJ P2B.The emcee for the event will be Dominique DiPrima of KBLA 1580.

The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will hold a Junteenth celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. June 18 at at the Michele and Barack Obama Sports Complex at 5001 Obama Blvd. 

There will be live music, an African American Heritage Month Legacy Project, a screening of “Wade in the Water,” a basketball contest, giveaways, pool party games and activities, vendors and food trucks. For more information, call 323-290-3141. 

Transmedia 360 and Let’s Be Whole are producing a three-day multimedia art exhibit from June 16 to 18 titled  “Weusi: Legacy of Slavery, Our Freedom through Arts.”

The exhibition, which will feature Afro-cultural music and videos, will be held at Art Share L.A., located at 801 E. 4th Place.

The opening night June 16 will feature a 6:30 p.m. pre-opening African cultural procession before the show begins. 

The program runs from 7 to 10 p.m. For more information, call (213) 687-4278.

The Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival will feature a variety of musical performers at 3:30 p.m. June 17 and 18.

Performing June 17 will be Bel, Biv Devoe, Kamasi Washington, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Samara Joy, Aziza, Poncho Sanchez, Lionel Loueke and Gretchen Parlato, Andrew Gouché & Prayze Connection, and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble at UCLA. 

The June 18 lineup will include The Cardinal Divas of SC, Leon Bridges, Raphael Saadiq, Ledisi, Digable Planets,  The Soul Rebels, Big Freedia,  Boukman Eksperyans and Butcher Brown. 

Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at metropressnews@gmail.com.

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