Celebrate Black History and Culture in Long Beach With Local Juneteenth Celebrations

Juneteenth marks the emancipation of those who were enslaved and celebrates the rich history and culture of the Black community. 

On June 19, 1865, Union Soldiers announced to the last enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War was over. They gained their rights and freedoms back- for the first time they would be acknowledged as citizens. 

Since 2021 Juneteenth has been recognized as a federal holiday in the United States. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management declared that Juneteenth would be observed for most federal employees. Recently, the mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti signed a proclamation making Juneteenth a paid holiday for Los Angeles city employees. 

In Long Beach, both celebratory and educational events will be held from June 17 through June 19. The 2022 Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration will be held at the Rainbow Lagoon Park from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 18. Admission to the celebration is free, however, to enter the festival there are Tickets for the festival are currently sold out. Find more information about the event here.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is holding a Juneteenth event with speaker Baba the Storyteller, on Sunday, June 19, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., where listeners can learn about the history of the holiday and its significance to the Black community. Advanced reservations are required and can be purchased through general entry timed admission here

Urban Society Long Beach has teamed up with The CRay Project and Project Optimism to hold their 3rd Annual Juneteenth Weekend. A trio of celebrations will be held throughout the weekend. 

It will begin with a networking event held by organizations that bring opportunities to underserved communities on Friday, June 17 at On the Rocks Bar + Grill. Admission is free but RSVP can be made here. The following day there will be a motorcade and block party on Saturday, June 18, that will begin at 4 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and end up at Uptown Commons. Admission is free and more information can be found on their Instagram post. Lastly, the weekend will end with “R&Brunch” at Shannon’s At The Top, located at 201 Pine Avenue. More information and general admission tickets can be purchased through eventbrite.com

Long Beach City College will be holding its first annual Juneteenth writing and video contest. The winners will be announced virtually on June 17 and in person the following day, June 18. That same day, there will be a celebration held with free food, music, and performances from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be at the Liberal Arts Campus, A Building, with free parking in lots G, F, H, and I. The event is exclusively for LBCC students and more information can be found at lbcc.edu.

There is also the ability to participate from the comfort of your own device by registering for SoCalGrantmakers Liberation: A Festival of Arts + Culture Honoring Juneteenth from June 13 to June 19. There will be daily videos sent showcasing various performances, artist interviews, and daily prompts. There is an option to receive them through email or phone number. To register for free, follow the link here.

By Linda Mai