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Juneteenth celebrations happening on the Central Coast

Posted at 10:22 AM, Jun 16, 2022

Many Juneteenth events are happening across the Central Coast this weekend.

In San Luis Obispo, a two-day celebration is taking place at Mission Plaza.

Organizers with the NAACP San Luis Obispo County say they expect more people this time around because the celebration is in-person, and acknowledge that this Juneteenth is a milestone.

“Biden signed last year to make it a national holiday, so this would be our first celebration as it being a national holiday," said Cheryl Vine, the Juneteenth chair and secretary for the NAACP of San Luis Obispo County.

Reverend Stephen Vines, President of the Chapter and Cheryl's husband, added, “It's been a long time coming. You know, to become a national holiday and to be celebrated, you know, for the celebration that it is.”

Last year, the NAACP hosted several virtual events. This year, organizers hope to see around 300 hundred people attend.

“There's going to be music by Mo Better Jazz. They're going to be doing some jazz and rhythm and blues, and then we're going to kick the event off with the House of Prayer Choir,” said Vines.

The Reverend told KSBY, "People you know, dress up, you know...and then the food, as far the food we say Soul Food."

Juneteenth celebrations are also happening in Lompoc, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara.

In Lompoc, people will celebrate Saturday at Ryon Park starting at 12:30 p.m. In Santa Barbara, people can gather on Sunday at noon on the 200 Block of Gray Avenue.

In Paso Robles, a Juneteenth event is happening at City Park at 1 p.m. The City proclaimed the third Saturday in June would be celebrated a Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth means to me healing for our Black community, too, for our culture to heal. It means to share our history,” said Lovella Walker, a committee member for Paso Juneteenth.

The holiday celebrates when enslaved Americans in the U.S. were finally freed, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

“This is our second one. Our first was last year, and we had no clue. We just jumped in. It was time for us to do some healing in Paso," said Juanetta Perkins, chair for Paso Juneteenth.

Organizers say they expect more than 200 people to attend.

“We'll start out with a musical presentation by Paso Robles High School students, and then we'll go into prayer. Then we'll have a emcee and then we'll have some storytelling. Then we have another music performance by Share Commander Keith Scott,” Perkins said.

Members of the Paso Robles High Color Guard will also perform.

“We will have storytelling. We will have some history there. It's going to be dancers. The mayor from San Luis Obispo, we will be coming to be our guest speaker,” said Perkins.

There will also be other live music, games, face painting, and Soul Food.

“They teach other history in schools, but they don’t each Black history and so if they… if we don’t start teaching them ourselves, they may never get it. So we want to start and maybe once they get it in the classroom, they’ll start talking about it and then the schools will allow it to be part of the education or curriculum,” said Walker.

Organizers say many of the events are happening due to donations from the community.