Elk Grove & Sacramento Commemorate Historic Juneteenth
Make yourself a committee of one.
Wise words from a wise woman: The one and only Opal Lee.
If you don’t know the name Opal Lee, you may know her by her other name, “Grandmother Of Juneteenth”.
Because of her, as well as many others, the long fight to make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday is now complete!
Also because of her, last weekend millions of Americans commemorated at Juneteenth events around the country, including Elk Grove and Sacramento. Elk Grove Tribune attended Juneteenth events in Elk Grove. This is our review!
By the way, before you read further, a quick word on what Juneteenth is and is not. To many African Americans who descend from persons enslaved in the United States, Juneteenth is not so much a day to celebrate as it is a day to commemorate. But what exactly are we commemorating? Not the end of Slavery as some media outlets reported last week. Rather, Juneteenth (June 19th) marks the day when free African American Union soldiers helped free enslaved African Americans still held in Texas two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation.
Elk Grove Commemorates Juneteenth
This year’s stand-out Elk Grove Juneteenth event is the Juneteenth Summer Bash hosted by The Rising. By far one of the best events of the weekend! You couldn’t ask for a better location than the beautiful Lakeside community, nor could you ask for better hosts in youth organizers Kabria Payden, Xavier Rivers, and Cayman Welch. Together they make for a special trio! Be sure to check out The Rising’s podcast at BLAM Production Studios on YouTube.
Elk Grove’s Juneteenth Summer Bash event featured food, music, family, and fun. Not to mention some of Elk Grove’s best vendors! As we spoke with attendees, each talked about the importance of Juneteenth to them. Most of the community members we talked to viewed the day as a way to commemorate and honor their ancestors. Some spoke about their own family’s history. Others spoke about how the legacy of Slavery impacts living African Americans.
Community Members Call For Reparations After Juneteenth
Community members we spoke to at Juneteenth events in both Elk Grove and Sacramento, for the most part, welcomed news of the Juneteenth National Holiday. Many also said they plan to use Juneteenth to push for Reparations for African Americans who descend from persons enslaved in the U.S. This comes as California’s historic Reparations Task Force met for the first time earlier this month. A second meeting is planned for July. However, no date is known yet. Last week the City of Sacramento passed a resolution in support of the state Reparations Task Force. The resolution also recognized the work of Sacramento and Elk Grove-based activists who helped get the Task Force started. These include the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California and the American Redress Coalition of California. Both organizations work for Reparations and Reparative Justice at the local and state levels.
In addition, last week Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity, or MORE, a national coalition of Mayors from around the country supporting Reparations. No word yet on whether Elk Grove mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen will also join the mayoral coalition.
Two Sacramento & Elk Grove Area Congressmen Vote Against The Juneteenth National Holiday
On a related note, two area Congressmen voted against the Juneteenth National Holiday. Representatives Tom McClintock an Representative Doug LaMalfa, both of the Roseville/Citrus Heights area. Neither released a statement explaining their vote. Both are up for reelection in 2022, along with the entire House of Representatives.