Juneteenth celebration in Concord June, "Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future"

Juneteenth a time to remember the past – and keep moving forward

La Tanya Johnson, Concord Communities Alliance

CONCORD, CA (June 15, 2023) — The city’s first Juneteenth celebration, “Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future,” serves as a powerful reminder of the struggles and triumphs of African-Americans throughout history, and an opportunity to showcase the Black community’s resilience and determination in our continued fight for freedom.

Juneteenth holds immense importance in American history, commemorating the day when the last remaining enslaved African-Americans in the United States were informed that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Concord’s Juneteenth event will be 1-4 p.m. June 25 in Todos Santos Plaza.

For me, Juneteenth is not just a day of celebration, but a moment to reflect on the progress we have made and the work that still lies ahead. It is an opportunity for younger generations to connect with their heritage and understand the sacrifices made by their ancestors.

As a mother, I long for a community where my son, Eli, can attend local events and engage in the rich history of his culture with other children.

Acknowledging diversity

While the Concord City Council has made strides toward acknowledging the city’s diversity, I firmly believe that we need more Black cultural events in our community. Inclusivity is vital, and I call upon council members to invest in celebrations that honor the contributions and achievements of Black Americans. It is through these events that we can showcase the diverse experiences and cultural richness of our community, fostering unity and understanding.

Concord Communities Alliance (CAA) is working tirelessly to organize a Juneteenth celebration that embodies the spirit of inclusivity and appreciation for the Black community. As a co-convener at CCA, I know it’s critical that we build community by creating events where families like mine can gather, share stories and honor our heritage. While organizing this event, I have had the opportunity to meet several Black business owners and members of Black faith organizations that I may not have had the chance to encounter in my day-to-day activities.

As Juneteenth draws near, let us remember the importance of cultural acknowledgment, accessible celebrations and the ongoing need for Black family cultural events in Concord. Together, through collective efforts, we can create a future where everyone feels connected to their heritage, celebrates diversity and fosters an inclusive community for future generations.

Hope to see you June 25 at the Plaza. Come out and learn how I grew up celebrating Juneteenth.

The Pleasant Hill Diversity Commission will also host a Juneteenth Celebration 4:30-7:30 p.m. June 18 on the lawn at Pleasant Hill City Hall.