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Juneteenth National Independence Day Act

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June 18, 2021

Juneteenth June 19 Recognize and Celebrate

Yesterday was a momentous day in our nation. Santa Clara Unified School District is thrilled and heartened by the news that legislation designating Juneteenth National Independence Day as the nation’s newest federal holiday, was approved by the United States Congress this week and signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday, June 17. It is the most recent federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was approved in 1983. 

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, which is commemorated on June 19th, is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. It was on this day in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free. Juneteenth is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”

Juneteenth Day celebrations have since been held to commemorate African American freedom from slavery. Honoring this day, more than 150 years later, helps us learn our history and better understand the experiences of African Americans that shaped this nation.

This tradition of celebrating Juneteenth acknowledges and condemns the atrocities and degradation of our shared past and honors resilience in the face of injustice and inhumanity, for now and future generations. We simultaneously acknowledge the historical relevance of this significant event and the generational trauma that accompanies being subject to racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Trauma that becomes barriers to positive mental and physical health and well-being, economic opportunity, and academic achievement.

Honoring this day helps us learn our history and better understand the experiences of African Americans that shaped this nation. As a community we continue to be committed to promoting equity, access, and social justice through Vision 2035, our 2021-2026 strategic plan Innovating for Equity and Excellence, our equity and social justice committee, and recent board resolutions.

Given our strong commitment to inclusivity, equity, and cultural awareness and celebration, we are pleased that the Senate, House, and President all moved quickly this week to pass this important federal legislation that impacts federal employees. Before this federal action will impact state and local employees, each state will have to take legislative action to create a state holiday for Juneteenth. Until then, our students and their families rely on the school year calendar currently in place so our offices and summer schools will be open. 

We celebrate the progress that has been made and the incredible significance of this day and we embrace the fact that there is still a lot of work to do and we will keep doing that work — together.

The Bay Area community will be coming together to commemorate this significant day in a variety of ways. We encourage you to learn more about Juneteenth by visiting the resources below which include details about celebrations held this weekend throughout the Bay Area that you may consider attending — share your celebrations with us using #SCUSDproud.

Learn More About the History of Juneteenth 

Attend a Bay Area Event

June 18

Monumental Reckoning - Mayor London Breed
San Francisco Golden Gate Park Music Concourse
5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Details here.

Solano County Juneteenth Celebration
Solano County Fairgrounds, Vallejo.
5-10 p.m. June 18, noon- 8 p.m. June 19-20,
$20-$50. Details here.

June 19

40th Annual Juneteenth in the Park Festival
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
12 - 7 p.m.
Free. Details here.

Juneteenth at the Waterfront - MegaBlack SF
Embarcadero Ferry Terminal Plaza in San Francisco
8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Free. Details here.

Los Altos Juneteenth Festival - Justice Vanguard
Lincoln Park on University Avenue
1 - 5 p.m.
Free. Details here.

Juneteenth - Black Family Reunion - AAACC
Fulton at Webster and the Fillmore Mini Park in San Francisco
11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Juneteenth Celebration - Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House in San Francisco at
12:30 p.m.
Details here.

Black Creatives & Film Makers - BBB and SFBFF
Mixer at Musiquarium in San Francisco 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.
$30. Ticket and details here.

Juneteenth VIP Lawn Party
Laney College Football Field, 900 Fallon St., Oakland.
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tickets $10

Juneteenth: A Day of Recognition, Restoration, and Celebration
Intersection of Masonic and Solano Avenues, Albany
11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
More information here.

Vallejo's 31st annual Juneteenth Festival
Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, Vallejo, (behind City Hall at Mare Island Way and Capitol Street) in Vallejo
11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Details here.

A Celebration of African Juneteenth Celebrate Freedom

3415 Oakley Road, Antioch.
11:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Free. Details here.

Better Black Juneteenth
June 19, Mosswood Park, Oakland
Noon-7 p.m.

Oakland Lake Merritt Juneteenth Festival
Lake Merritt amphitheatre
Noon-8 p.m.
Free but donations accepted. Details here.

June 20

Bayview Juneteenth - SF Black Wallstreet
San Francisco's Gilman Park
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.