'Rejoicing': Juneteenth celebrations shine light on National holiday in East Bay

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, June 20, 2022
Juneteenth celebrations shine light on holiday in Bay Area
From Berkeley to Oakland, the East Bay is celebrating freedom on this Juneteenth holiday, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area is celebrating freedom on this Juneteenth holiday, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. In the East Bay, there were celebrations and festivals marking the significant day.

Berkeley's 35th Annual Juneteenth celebration was back on Adeline Street after a two year pandemic pause.

"Now it gets to the point where people don't have to ask, 'what is Juneteenth?' We all know what we're celebrating and we're just happy about it," said festival co-host Jay Rich.

RELATED: Juneteenth celebrations return to Oakland for culture, remembering what holiday means

The sights and sounds of Oakland came alive Saturday around the shores of Lake Merritt for the Juneteenth celebrations.

Juneteenth became a National Holiday in 2021, commemorating the end of slavery in America. Irvin Smith was here to take it all in.

"It means us having a day for us and our people and all the struggles we've been through, and just rejoicing in life getting better," said Smith.

RELATED: 'It's really special': Juneteenth Freedom Festival celebrated in SF with music, food and diversity

As the U.S. commemorates the Juneteenth holiday, San Francisco is throwing its own party to celebrate with the Juneteenth Freedom Festival.

"All of our clothes were made in Nigeria, benefiting local communities where they're made," said boutique owner Lola Oladigbolu.

The festival was a chance for small business owners like Oladigbolu to shine.

"Just seeing at the bank Juneteenth is a national holiday, just feels like more visibility," she said.

RELATED: Here's a list of 2022 Juneteenth events happening in the Bay Area

"San Francisco was the Western hub of the underground railroad. Their role was to raise the money. So the money for the raid on Harpers Ferry which was the precipitating event for the Civil War came from San Francisco."

In Oakland, Lake Merritt was celebrating Juneteenth in a big way. Richard Johnson was talking to his grandson about why the day is so important.

"We need to have more days like this where everyone can let go, feel free," Johnson said.

RELATED: How to talk to your kids about Juneteenth

There were extra police officers on duty and street closures around the lake, near the scene of gun violence at last year's festival where one man was killed.

"Stop the killings, put the guns down," said pastor Harry Williams.

Oakland chef Dion Green wants to move forward and focus on what's good.

"We hope to continue in the future, to keep it going so this festival gets bigger and bigger, keep it positive and safe for everybody," Green said.

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