Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when enslaved black people in the State of Texas finally learned of their emancipation – a full two months after the end of the Civil War.  The following year, Texas’ emancipated slaves marked this day as one of freedom. On June 16, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, and Congress passed legislation declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. 

Today, Juneteenth stands as a moment to amplify the unique experiences of African American/Black families, and contributions made by their ancestors.

At First 5 Contra Costa, we are committed to our organizational values of Cultural Humility, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Partnership; and embody our pledge to Anti-Racism. On November 10, 2020, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 2020/306 declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis and earlier this month, the First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission declared Juneteenth as an observed staff holiday. 

We recognize that the last few years have been a heightened period of trauma for African American families. Now more than ever, it is vital for our actions to repel the legacy of racism and elevate our First 5 values to honor the lives and sacrifices Black people have made to achieve freedom in this country.  As an established and trusted public leader in the County, First 5’s actions have the power to catalyze change for our community partners and other First 5 agencies. 

Looking ahead, our focus is to continue to expand the resources and improve the opportunities available to our youngest residents and the individuals that care for them. Marking Juneteenth is a chance to pause, reflect, and honor the impact of every ancestor that has preceded us and to plant the seeds of equity for generations to come.  

The First 5 Contra Costa administrative offices will be closed on Monday, June 20th in observance and celebration of the Juneteenth Holiday.  We also invite you to join us in reflection and celebration of Juneteenth – we’ve listed resources for learning and events happening in the Bay Area this weekend.

In Solidarity,

The First 5 Contra Costa Team

Below is a list from KQED of Juneteenth events going on in the Bay Area:

Bay Area Juneteenth Events

Afrocentric Oakland’s Juneteenth WeekendThis two-part weekend celebration at Lake Merritt will kick off Saturday with the 10th annual Pan-African Wellness Fest, featuring guided meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, self-defense, spoken word performances, interactive art installations, a youth zone, keynote speakers, Black excellence awards and vendors. Lake Merritt Amphitheater. June 18, 12-8pm, $5. Details here.

Sunday, Afrocentric Oakland will host its annual Fam Bam celebration, also in its 10th year. “Fam Bam X” boasts live performances from DJs, art displays, a youth zone, PanAfrican vendors, and a Black Father’s Day tribute. Lake Merritt Amphitheater. June 19, 12pm-8pm, $20. Details here.

Juneteenth With MoADSan Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora will host an slate of in-person and virtual events to celebrate Freedom Day. Virtual offerings include a panel of artists discussing representation and equality paired with revolutionary music. There will also be a presentation from Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, chair of the history department at the University of Texas at Austin, on the history of the Transatlantic slave trade through to the emancipation of enslaved people in America. In person, the museum will host St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band as they lead a second-line procession and perform in the salon room.  Admission to MoAD’s current exhibitions will also be free all day. June 18, 11am-6pm. Details here.

‘The Joy Protocol’ at the Bayview Opera HouseThe Bayview Opera House will host the premiere of “The Joy Protocol,” a collaboration between San Francisco choreographer Gregory Dawson and jazz musician and composer Richard Howell. The multidisciplinary performance explores finding joy in the time of COVID protocols. June 16-18, 8pm, $15-$50. Details here.

East Bay Regional Parks Juneteenth EventsIf you’d like to get out and celebrate Juneteenth in nature this year, the East Bay Regional Parks have you covered. There’s a Juneteenth Celebration Hike at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont that will celebrate Black contributions and achievements throughout history and in the fields of science, conservation, and art. Ardenwood Historic Farm, also in Fremont, will host an all-ages baseball game. At the Father’s Day and Juneteenth Celebration at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, there will be a story circle at the top of every hour and craft-making throughout the day at the Crab Cove Visitor Center. June 19. Details here.

52nd Annual Sonoma County MLK Juneteenth Community FestivalThis festival will feature live music, food, a basketball tournament, arts and crafts, dominoes, spoken word performances and Zumba. There will also be a march from Julliard Park to Martin Luther King Park to honor Sonoma County activist Vince Harper. Martin Luther King Park. June 18, 10am–6pm. Details here.

Hayward Juneteenth Outdoor Fitness & Wellness FestivalThis event will feature trap yoga, dance workout and twerk-out sessions for the adults; and rock-climbing instruction, arts and crafts and the Hayward Public Library’s bookmobile for the kids. Hayward Heritage Plaza. June 18, 10am–1pm. Details here.

‘BLACK AS U R’ screening at the Castro TheatreIn this documentary, filmmaker Micheal Rice explores racism and homophobia within Black communities and the unique challenges faced by those who hold both queer and Black identities. June 19, 6:15 pm, $17.50. Details here.

“Straight Outta Hunters Point” 20th anniversary screening at the Bayview Opera HouseThis 2003 documentary takes viewers on an insider’s tour of the public housing project Hunters Point, where director Kevin Epps grew up. There is also a pre-show performance by Pat Wilder and San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin. This event is a fundraiser in support of the SF BayView Black National Newspaper. June 19, 7pm. Details here.

Elements Juneteenth Party with Timmy RegisfordDance legend Timmy Regisford leads ELEMENTS’ panel about the Black and queer roots of house music, followed by a 21+ after party at a secret location in Oakland. June 18, 9pm. Details here.

East Oakland Futures FestivalThis block party along the Scraper Bike Way will celebrate East Oakland’s food, arts, tech and culture with an Afrocentric tilt. A community bike ride will kick off the event. June 18, 11am–6pm. Details here.