Long Beach Juneteenth at Rainbow Park:  A Joyous Recognition and Freedom Celebration

The community came out en masse to celebrate Juneteenth at Rainbow Lagoon in downtown Long Beach. This year, 2022, is the second year Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday.  It commemorates the day, June 19, 1865, when the slaves in Galveston, Texas received the news that they were free. This egregious act was two years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing enslaved Blacks in the U.S. was signed.

The City of Long Beach hosted the event, under the leadership of Long Beach’s Juneteenth founder Carl Kemp, Chief Communications Officer for the L. A. County Department of Public Health. Aundrae Russell of KJLH (kindness, joy, love and happiness), Stevie Wonder’s radio station, was the Master of Ceremony.

It was truly a beautiful day of celebration – joy and jubilation was evident! Pastor Wayne Chaney of Antioch Baptist Church opened the event with prayer. Attendees enjoyed the entertainment, the delicious cultural cuisine, music, historical displays and creative arts. The lineup included the Antioch Church choir, fraternity and sorority steppers, the Dembrebrah West African Dance and drum troupe, Dorsey High School drum line and drill team, a standup comedian and renowned headliner vocalists – Rahsaan Patterson and Marsha Ambrosius. Vendors offered a multitude of artistic, handmade jewelry, colorful African attire, products and services. Local community agencies, Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach were also out, providing educational information and offering giveaways.

Sharifah Hardie, President of the Long Beach Chapter of the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce (SCBCC), attended the Juneteenth event and networked with local businesses to help promote their products and services. Juneteenth proved to be a wonderful day for the community, families and friends to reconnect in celebration of what this country has promised all its citizens – freedom, justice and equality.

Author: Senior Editor D.T. Jordan