This year marks the third year since Juneteenth became a federal U.S. holiday, but one Silicon Valley group has been recognizing it for decades.
San Jose’s SoFa District was home to the 42nd annual Santa Clara County Juneteenth in the Streets Festival last Saturday. The event, hosted by the African American Community Services Agency, averages more than 6,000 attendees and commemorates the fall of slavery in Galveston, Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. This year’s festival featured performances by singers K. Michelle and Lena Byrd Miles, among others, and provided community resources such as how to register to vote.
“I hope that corporations and community groups are able to learn and observe what we are doing here in the South Bay,” Milan Balinton, executive director of the African American Community Service Agency, told San José Spotlight. “We get to see us today being free, being Black, being beautiful with our allies.”
Attendees of all ages danced to the live music and wandered among the dozens of vendors selling food, clothing and services.
“More people are joining in, whether they’re standing in solidarity or they’re coming out to support the local businesses,” said Deidre Curry, founder of clothing brand SheeApparel.
Contact Rashel Chipi at [email protected].