June 2023

First 5 LA is proud to celebrate Juneteenth, our nation’s federally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, recognized annually on June 19. Also known as “Jubilee” or “Freedom Day,” Juneteenth is a time for acknowledging that while the United State was founded on the promise of freedom and sovereignty for all when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, it would take 89 years more before on June 19, 1865 that the entirety of the nation’s residents, regardless of race, were promised the freedoms articulated by the country’s founders. 

The origin of Juneteenth is centered in Galveston Bay, Texas, when 2,000 Union troops arrived in the confederate state and delivered the news that enslaved people of African descent had been declared free. While the historic event occurred two-and-a-half-years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, it wasn’t until Union armies were able to enforce the Proclamation that freedom for those enslaved in the last confederate state of Texas was officially realized. The first formal celebration of the event took place on June 19, which has since been recognized as a truer anniversary of African American freedom in the United States.

Five months later on  Dec. 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment – which formally abolished slavery in the U.S. – became law. Yet the repercussions of our nation’s long history of slavery and racism are still felt today, making Juneteenth a time for not only celebrating freedom from slavery, but also acknowledging the work that remains to uproot the persistent inequities that Black communities endure to this day. 

Addressing racial inequities with a core understanding of the historical and lasting impact of slavery on America’s Black communities is at the heart of ensuring that all children and families in L.A. County have every opportunity to thrive, and as such, is a critical part of First 5 LA’s work. This Juneteenth and throughout each year we lift-up important work still before us and this nation to end racial disparities and embrace equity for all. 

To support your child’s understanding of racial equity and Black history in America – and to take part in local Juneteenth celebrations – we gladly share below a list of educational resources and Juneteenth events happening across L.A. County.  

Local Events

Educational Resources