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

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, June 19, 2022
'It's really special':' SF celebrates Juneteenth holiday
As the U.S. commemorates the Juneteenth holiday, San Francisco is throwing its own party to celebrate with the Juneteenth Freedom Festival.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- This weekend as the Nation commemorates the Juneteenth holiday, the Bay Area is throwing its own party to celebrate.

Music rocked the Fillmore District, the center of San Francisco's Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, stretching eight city blocks.

Juneteenth became a National holiday in 2021, commemorating the end of slavery in America but Lori Watkins says the history is complicated.

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."

"But we all know in Texas, they didn't tell folks for two years they were free. It means everything to be free, we're working it day by day," Watkins said.

Chef Steve Johnson was cooking up his own creation of hibachi soul food: shrimp, crab and lobster. He's giving back to the neighborhood he loves.

"All these people here, we grew up here, It's big to come out and support our own people," said Johnson.

"I'm glad we finally celebrate this holiday," said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.

RELATED: Santa Clara Co. leaders hope becoming 1st county to make Juneteenth a holiday leads to more changes

Santa Clara County became the first county in California to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday in 2020. Now, they hope the state follows suit.

Chief Scott was here, thinking about the significance of Juneteenth.

"It's really special in this space, not only celebrating the holiday but look at the diversity of people around here. It speaks to the city and how far we've come," said Scott.

"With everything that's going on in the world, we're able to celebrate our day and be a community come together, Black, White and Brown," said DJ William Stokes.

RELATED: 1st ever Juneteenth flag raised in San Mateo Co., honoring holiday recognizing end of slavery in US

Kenyattah Green has her own reason to celebrate Juneteenth, her daughter Nia.

"She was born on June 19, 2020, this is the freedom baby right here," she said.

RELATED: How to talk to your kids about Juneteenth

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