29th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

On Saturday morning, June 19, 2021, Santa Monica will present the 29th Annual Juneteenth Celebration online from 10:30 a.m. - 12 noon to commemorate America’s second Independence Day, when the Union general in Galveston, Texas read the federal orders of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation proclaiming all previously enslaved people in Texas were free, two years after the adoption of the proclamation.

The theme for this year’s virtual 29th Annual Juneteenth Celebration “The Change is Here” is inspired by the famous Sam Cook song that foretold A Change is Gonna Come. It was also developed as a response to the out-pour of calls for change locally and nationally towards a more equitable society. Similarly, Santa Monica’s Juneteenth Celebration has been a voice of change within the community since 1992 thanks to the leadership of LaVerne Ross, whose family had been celebrating Juneteenth in Texas before she and her family relocated to Santa Monica in the 1950s.

The program’s Master of Ceremonies will be spoken word artist Sean Raymond Hill and the presentation will include:

• Traditional opening drum call performed by Chazz Ross and dancer Teresa Smith

• A selection of classic and original soul and blues pieces performed by Harold Wherry and the Blue Breeze Band

• Gospel favorites performed by Kaleo & the Voice of One Singers featuring Dr. Henry Jackson

• The annual presentation by Mayor Himmelrich of the Juneteenth Proclamation to LaVerne Ross founder and visionary of the Juneteenth Celebration in Santa Monica

The 29th Annual Juneteenth Celebration is presented in collaboration with the Juneteenth Celebration Committee, Inc. Registration for the online Zoom webinar event is available at bit.ly/SMJuneteenth. More information about this free community event online event at www.smgov.net/vapark, Virginia Avenue Park’s Facebook page (vapark), by emailing vap@smgov.net or by calling 310-458-8688.

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