SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the second year in a row, San Francisco Mayor London Breed held a Juneteenth kickoff event in the North Courtroom at City Hall. The event featured numerous musical acts by local Black artists and musicians.
"Today is a celebration of all the diaspora of how the Black people and the Black culture supports the San Francisco Bay Area," said Rodney Jackson Jr. one of the performers at today's event.
Jackson is a Broadway performer from San Francisco who says he has been waiting for events like this his entire life. Now they are happening. Today's Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating what happened on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and told the enslaved Black Americans there they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.
"This is just the begining for our people," Jackson said. "Because unity is what is going to keep bringing us together to share and shed the light that we want to be living in."
San Francisco will be holding multiple events this weekend - including a festival on Saturday in the Fillmore District, and on Sunday in Bayview-Hunters Point. City leaders say this weekend is not just about joy and celebration, but also about progress towards equality.
"We should be celebrating freedom, Juneteenth, the accomplishments of Black people 24/7," said San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton.
For the performers like Jackson, he says even celebrating Juneteenth as a national holiday is a step in the right direction.
"My ancestors are looking down smiling at me," he said. "I want to be the living representation of it the embodiment of our people thriving the embodiment of Juneteenth and celebrating our freedom. This is it."
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