I.E. Juneteenth Events To Draw Thousands
By Dianne Anderson
Not just hundreds, more like multiple thousands will turn out for Juneteenth celebrations in the Inland Empire for free good times, outdoor activities for the kids — all while not forgetting the essentials for life – jobs, health, education and housing.
Edwin Johnson said family fun is guaranteed, but he also wants the community hooked up to things they need the most to stress less.
County agencies and nonprofits will explain how to access housing, rental and utility help. Voter registration booths will get the community ready for the next big election.
“We’ve got a bunch of job vendors. We definitely have employment resources [for] people to get hired on-site. We have staffing agencies coming out. This year we felt like we needed max vendors to bring max resources to our community, ” said Johnson, president of the San Bernardino Juneteenth Committee.
On Saturday, June 17, the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom will be held at San Bernardino Valley College from 10:100 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., located at San Bernardino Valley College- 701 S. Mt. Vernon Ave in San Bernardino.
Help is also available for parents with information on free summer programs for the kids. The City of San Bernardino will have vendor booths and San Bernardino Valley College will explain their various free summer classes, and other offerings. Anyone that needs a law enforcement issue cleaned up can get their records expunged.
Entertainment will hit a high note this year with local R&B group, The Bromatics, performing old school favorites of the 70s and 80s. Local legendary Pacesetters Drill Team & Drum Squad will swirl and twirl, along with nonprofit vendors.
Good times are in store, but Johnson said it’s a whole lot more.
“We have a mobile clinic doing blood pressure checks and health screenings. They bring a huge trailer with health screenings right on site,” he said.
On Sunday, June 18, the High Desert Juneteenth Freedom Fest will also reach a demographic to experience all Juneteenth has to offer for the first time in one spot. Before now, various hosts held the event in various places.
That event runs from noon to 4:00 p.m. and is being hosted at Adelanto Stadium and Event Center, located at 12000 Stadium Way Adelanto.
Terrance Stone said there will be food and other forms of agency help for those in need, but he said the main focus for the celebration is fun. He is also paying tribute to a faith-based community member, as well as Juneteenth Freedom Fest awards for Barstow Mayor Paul Courtney, and local advocate Regina Bell.
The stage will go live with Latrice Kristine and Lady DJ Jamar.
Honors will go out to Juneteenth and Father’s Day with gifts for the first 200 dads that arrive.
He said they also have health offerings. Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. will be on-site, and the Millionaire Mind Kids youth program will have information on how kids can become entrepreneurs. Among their vendors, Chase Bank is one of their sponsors with financial tools.
“Sometimes it’s cool to kick back, whether loving people, loving community and just coming together as one for that day,” he said.
Also in the Juneteenth mix, the 5th annual celebration in Redlands has something for everyone starting Friday, June 16 with their Freedom Awards Reception from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the University of Redlands.
Sponsored by the City of Redlands, the event is in conjunction with Unity in the Community, Redlands Police Department, the University of Redlands, and The Village Second Baptist Church. The celebration includes Community Freedom Awards, and a $1,000 Midnight Hoops Basketball Tournament.
Among this year’s honorees include University of Redlands professor, Dr. Jennifer Tilton; State Assemblyman James Ramos; Civil rights attorney and advocate Joe Richardson; Deputy Chief of Police Travis Martinez. Also honored are gun victim advocate Gail Howard, Pathway Church, and Kelechi Amboi of the Human Relations Commission, a local high school representative of the Black Student Union.
On Saturday, June 17, family fun continues at Sylvan Park from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. featuring Kidz Zone, a Skate Park Freedom Skate event for prizes, giveaways and music. Sylvan Park is located at 601 N. University St. in Redlands.
In Riverside, Denise Booker of The Black Collective said the past two years have also brought out throngs of Juneteenth enthusiasts for their event.
Right after COVID opened back up, an outpouring of 1,700 participants registered and last year they pulled in 1,400, but their location was smaller then. This year she expects more at their 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration.
Her excitement is around taking the event back to the historical aspect.
“Knowing the struggle helps us to prevent repeating it, everyone needs to know the struggle,” she said. “It helps some people, but those that benefited from it need to know what is the true cost.”
Nonprofits and organizations will talk about mental health services, specifically in the Black community. Also featured, the young men of the nonprofit SBX, founded by Assemblymember Corey Jackson, will hold their Rights of Passage graduation.
“Corey Jackson will be there, he’s our keynote speaker, as well as District 4 Councilmember Cheylynda Barnard,” she said.
The event is hosted by The Black Collective and Iota Phi Theta – Theta Gamma Chapter, also to promote Black businesses. Free COVID and other vaccines and tests are available for those that want them. That event will be held at Fairmount Park, located at 2601 Fairmount Blvd. in Riverside from 1:00-6:00 p.m.
“Things have gotten commercialized. We’re trying to bring the history back to Juneteenth, something that we need to remember. It’s a day of remembrance. Of course, we’re going to have Black businesses because that’s the way to financial freedom,” she said.
For more information on the Redlands celebration, contact (909) 793-1074 at The Village SBC or email firstname.lastname@example.org.