Juneteenth Festival coming up in Berkeley

June 3, 2009 9:40:18 AM PDT
Berkeley's Juneteenth Festival, which celebrates the ending of slavery on June 19, 1865, will be held Saturday.

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The city's 22nd Juneteenth Festival will be on Adeline Street, between Ashby and Alcatraz streets, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature arts, crafts, music, cultural events and ethnic foods.

Event co-chair Gerald Baptiste Jr. said this year's event will bring back the vibrancy and vitality of Juneteenth and recognize the nucleus of the African American family.

In a statement, Baptiste said, "With our nation's first African American president and his family in the White House, African-Americans are now even more focused on their heritage and are taking stock in the importance of family. That is what makes this year's celebration so special as we celebrate the first family."

Baptiste said, "African-American families in Berkeley, throughout California and across the nation have a stronger sense of pride in the success of accomplishments they've made, and this year's Juneteenth will reflect that."

He said the theme of this year's festival is "Building Villages of Hope."

Lothario Lotho will serve as master of ceremonies for the festival.

The event commemorates the date in 1865 on which black residents in Texas received word that they had been emancipated from slavery.

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