A week from today, California’s state employees can take a paid day off to celebrate Juneteenth—the first time they’ve had this opportunity since Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1655 on Sept. 29, 2022.
Juneteenth, which marks the anniversary of General Order No. 3, issued on June 19, 1865, that proclaimed freedom for slaves in the state of Texas, has been a paid state holiday in the Lone Star State since 1979. Before that, it had been celebrated for generations in the African American community, and the tradition spread to other parts of the country after the Great Migration, when more than five million Black people left the South and headed north and west during World War II.
Though it’s only been a federal holiday since 2021, Californians have been celebrating Juneteenth for decades.
Next Saturday, Central California residents can mark the holiday in multiple locations: In Santa Clara County, the African American Community Service Agency is gearing up for its 42nd Juneteenth event. In Santa Cruz County, find details on Facebook about the Juneteenth Parade to the London Nelson Center, home to Juneteenth celebrations since 1991. The Monterey County Black Caucus has a soiree planned in Seaside’s Laguna Grande Park and the Salinas Juneteenth Celebration Association is hosting festivities at Hartnell College.
Residents of the Capital region will find plenty of opportunities to mark the occasion, including events June 16 in Rancho Cordova’s Hagan Park, June 17 at Black Miners Bar in Folsom and at Johnson-Springville Park in Rocklin, and three days of activities in Sacramento’s William Land Park that comprise the Sacramento Juneteenth Festival.