Bay Area Community Celebrates Juneteenth

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Juneteenth was celebrated around the Bay Area and around the country on Saturday.

In San Francisco, Juneteenth on the waterfront brought people out early to start their day.

"There is a lot of African American businesses and vendors and workers, who make the city great. And we want to really honor that and a holiday that is about black liberation," said Shakirah Simley, of Megablack SF.

The Ferry Plaza was filled with music and food as people celebrated the holiday.

So much joy and celebration at the second annual Juneteenth jubilee in Oakland Saturday for many community leaders as they said that this year’s celebration feels very different. Ginger Conejero Saab reports.

"They are here to enjoy delicious food across the African American diaspora. From sweet potato cornbread to traditional hibiscus drinks that you drink on Juneteenth," Simley added.

Megablack SF organized the event with a message of reflection, solidarity and joy on a truly special Juneteenth.

The commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States is now recognized as federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed it into law Thursday night.

Across the Bay, people gathered near Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Gregory Hodge, a community supporter of the Oakland Juneteenth Fest spoke about the event.

"This history of Juneteenth the announcement that was made back on June 19, 1865 and how the news got to our folks late," he said.

He joined many others taking in the sunny day with art and music.

"Vendors selling goods, mostly black businesses," Hodge added. "There is a lot of food. There will be speakers making presentations on a range of things. Some around health care some around history and culture."

Hodge said it’s important to celebrate but there is work ahead.

Others shared their feelings about move to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

"I feel while I am happy that its being recognized on some level. I feel like of course there always could be more that could be given in the way of Juneteenth. For example, reparations but I feel we have to take one step at a time," said DeJesus Libran of Oakland.

For most though, it was time to soak in the moment.

"I want to celebrate with my people and have a good time and get some good food. Listen to some music and celebrate the holiday," Libran said.

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