Around East County: Brentwood hosts June 19 celebration

While many black families have celebrated June 19 since its origins in 1865, it wasn’t until last year that the well-known time to celebrate liberation, culture and joy became a federal holiday. This year’s Juneteenth East Contra Costa County celebration will have even more to celebrate as it falls on Father’s Day and the community celebrates black fathers and guardians.

“In honor of Father’s Day, we celebrate all fathers with a focus on African American fathers and father figures,” said Claryssa Wilson, Let Freedom Ring-East County Juneteenth Celebration Committee Chair. , adding that the theme of this year’s event is “A Tribute to Black Fathers.” especially during our program to those black fathers who play and continue to play a defining role in their families.”

Wilson explained that Juneteenth was born June 19, 1865 — more than two years after Abraham Lincoln’s January 1863 Emancipation Proclamation — in Galveston, Texas, where an executive order was issued to officially outlaw slavery. Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, celebrates the emancipation of all black Americans who had been enslaved in the United States.

The Juneteenth celebration, which will take place at City Park (next to City Hall) in downtown Brentwood from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on June 19, will have food trucks set up at the event . Wilson said several restaurants in downtown Brentwood would also have a collaboration on behalf of Juneteenth. Parking and admission to the event is free, and there will be over 20 vendors showcasing crafts and information about local organizations.

“From African cultural dance performances to musical selections from well-known artists and tribute bands, we have a packed schedule full of captivating entertainment,” Wilson said.

The entertainment will feature Project 4 Band, Luther tribute artist Vandross Harley Griffin, Frankie Beverly tribute artist Lionel J, Barry White tribute artist Kenny “King” Smith and gospel recording artist N ‘Season.

Gospel radio personality Steven Parker will host the celebration on June 19 this year. The talk show host has a program on 1190 AM, the Light. His radio show features interviews with people from all genres of entertainment, politics, sports and the broader black community. He also helps raise awareness of issues such as breast cancer, autism, gun control and foster care and is a consultant for the Oscar Grant Foundation.

Wilson said she wanted to thank all the Juneteenth Celebration sponsors, including the Celebrate Antioch Foundation for serving as the event’s fiscal agent for the past three years, as well as the City of Brentwood for allowing the Let’s Freedom Ring Juneteenth Celebration takes place in town and offers an extensive support network to ensure the event’s success.

“I want to thank my family for their support with a focus on my parents,” Wilson said. “I am grateful to my father, Clarke Wilson, who is an incredible provider and leader in my family. I am grateful to my mother, Velma Wilson, who has been a huge support system through every event and community service project I have ever led.

Roni Gehlke can be reached at [email protected]