Junetheenth“I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place.” –Maya Angelou

The words of the iconic memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist, who published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years provide the perfect framework with an annual event that puts the past, present and future into proper context as we get ready for Juneteeth, the nation’s 12th national holiday that is ​officially recognized – on June 19th – as the oldest celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It originated in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to commemorate when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. It was about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Southern states.

In 2021, President Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday.

There are pair of Juneteenth in our neck of the woods, starting with the Freedom Festival, which is on June 17th from 11am-3pm on the Downtown Plaza in Mill Valley and is all about honoring our past through the celebration of African American Independence Day with live music, food, activities for all ages and more. Celebrate African American independence with live music, festivities, food and fun for all ages. Free admission. MORE INFO.

Two days later, the Marin City community galvanizes around the theme of “Ascension: And Still We Rise,” Marin City’s 7th annual Juneteenth Festival at Rocky Graham Park, starting at 9am.

GO HERE for a full taste of the full day of food, vendors, musical performances and speeches.

Oshalla Diana Marcus, Marin City Arts and Culture director, is among the organizers of the annual Marin City event, seeking to put Juneteenth within a proper historical context for those who need it. Presented by the Marin Community Services District, Play Marin and a network of Black entrepreneurs and residents, the event spans a full day of activities.

Enjoy Marin County’s only Annual Open Air African Marketplace to stock up on classic items such as fresh locally sourced African Coffee, Baskets, Shea & Karite Butter, Black Soap, traditional clothing and fabrics, as well as hand made contemporary fashion, books, curriculum for educators and service booths featuring community organizations.

Admission is free, but donations to offset costs are welcome.


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