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Juneteenth Facts & Events in Monterey County

Categories: Activism, News

As June 19th approaches, we would like to share some basic Juneteenth facts followed by scheduled events to join the celebrations. Juneteenth honors the end of legal slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth is a Federally recognized Holiday

While Juneteenth began in Texas as a state holiday in 1979, it wasn’t until June 2021 that the entire country followed by recognizing it federally. Celebrating the end of slavery is truly another Independence Day.  Last June, Senators Markey, Smith, Booker, and Harris introduced Legislation to make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. The Bill was reintroduced in January 2021 and as of June 17th 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Federal Holiday into Law.  We are ecstatic to see the country come together as a whole to recognize a second Independence Day.

Why did Juneteenth Start in Texas?

After the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, not every state freed their captives, Texas being one of those states.  The reason for this, the Emancipation Proclamation applied specifically to confederate-controlled states, not the bordering states like Texas. In fact, many slave owners moved to Texas with the idea that having avoided combat, they would be able to continue their barbaric practices in Texas. It took a full two years for the Federal Government to enforce freedom for all in this country.  Juneteenth became a celebration after General Gordon Granger stood on Texas soil and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”  What followed was a celebration of freedom so strong it continues to this day.  General Granger’s speech in Galveston that June created freedom for Texas’s 250,000 people.

Juneteenth Celebrations Were a Vehicle for Change

While the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the Confederate-controlled States, it ultimately became Federal Law in December of 1865 through the 13th Amendment.  During that time, slaves were not encouraged to read or write so word of mouth was the way they began to understand the new law, they were free.  Consequently, freedom took time and the celebration of Freedom, Juneteenth, was an opportunity to spread that message. Juneteenth celebrations grew yet it still took another century for Texas to declare it a state holiday.

Celebrating Juneteenth Helps to End Systemic Racism

So much of American History has been designed to ignore black history. Slavery is still glorified in the classrooms of several southern states. The history curriculum in Alabama still describes slavery as “the happiest way of life” sourced from the  Alabama school curriculum.  As the Tulsa Race Massacre was systematically eliminated from History, a literal massacre on American soil was overlooked by design.  While Juneteenth is slow to be recognized, the importance does not diminish.  By recognizing and celebrating Emancipation, we are working to stop systemic racism.

As we are a nonprofit specific to Monterey County, we are proud to promote another nonprofit in the area focused on Juneteenth. The Juneteenth Coalition also fights to eliminate racism and has created a schedule of incredible events.

June 17th
UPLIFT New Journey Drive Car Rally to change the narrative of black drivers.

Drive a classic car from Monterey Touring Vehicles through historic Monterey Peninsula; locations to include a walking tour of Lower Presidio Historic Park to learn about the Buffalo Soldiers stationed in Monterey.  Lunch provided by: Alvarado Street Brewery. Each registration includes a driver plus one passenger. Monterey Touring Vehicles  2288 Del Monte Ave.Monterey12pm – 3pm $250 (Driver / Passenger)Add’l passengers are $50 each

Click Here to Register

June 19
UPLIFT-Juneteenth Jubilee

Free Community Celebration

On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger read General Order #3 effectively freeing the last remaining slaves in Texas. To commemorate the 155th anniversary, the community is hosting a free block party celebrating Juneteenth at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside, CA. The celebration will include music, speakers, entertainment and food.

Laguna Grande Park
401 Virgin Ave.
Monterey / Seaside
1pm on…
Free event to all
No Registration Required

Celebrations continue with:

June 20th
EMPOWER-Black Drives Matter

Inclusivity of golf as an exclusive sport in an elite location. Golf inclusivity at the newly designed short course, The Hay by Tiger Woods, located at the world-renowned Pebble Beach Resorts. This charity golf event is a 9 hole Par 3 two-person best ball and a hole in one challenge. Registration is for a single player or two person teams.
10am – 1pm
$45 Single Golfer
$90 Two-person Team
The Hay (Pebble Beach)
1700 17 Mile Dr.
Pebble Beach

Click to Register

June 20th
EMPOWER- Grandeur Noir

Everyone is celebrated and we all rise!
Empowerment through Highlife music, dance and scholarship presentation. Highlife is a form of music that was brought back to Africa by the returning slaves. It is a fusion of African traditional rhythm and western electrical instruments, especially the electric guitar. Highlife has been popularized by the Igbo tribe in Africa. Six celebrity chefs will provide an exquisite culinary experience through heavy strolling hor deuvres and local wines.
* Creative white tie is optional
Pearl Hour
214 Lighthouse Ave.
4:00pm – 8:00pm
$150 per person

Click to Register

From the Coalition:

The Juneteenth Coalition is an alliance of activists from all colors of the rainbow, united under a common cause of fighting injustice and systemic racism. We are celebrating the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States with the intention to inspire justice and freedom for all peoples around the world.

We encourage you to attend some if not all of these events.  The Juneteenth Coalition did an amazing job putting these fun and immersive events in motion and we want to see you there!  Let’s pull together as a community in solidarity to celebrate freedom.

If you believe in our mission to Eliminate Racism and Empower Women, please consider donating to the YWCA-MC.


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