Juneteenth celebration draws community members to DeGarmo

by Karen Laslo & Leslie Layton
posted June 19

A Juneteenth celebration, with food, music and speeches, drew a cross-section of the community to DeGarmo Park today to celebrate the federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.

photo by Karen Laslo
Juneteenth at DeGarmo Park in Chico.

“We’re really going for a family-reunion type vibe,” said Christina Archie, an organizer with the group, Building Leaders, Advocates & Community Connections (BLACC) late in the afternoon. “We’re just wanting people to feel the love within the community. We’re working on that connection piece, community connection. It’s been really cool.”

BLACC organized the event because members felt it was important to “bring the community together” to celebrate a day that was “very important in American history, Black history,” Archie added.

“There’s still lots of work to do, but it’s very important to celebrate all the accomplishments that have happened thus far,” Archie told ChicoSol. “We want to encourage people to advocate for themselves, advocate for their people, their community.

“It’s an election year and there are a lot of important things on the ballot. so we’re encouraging people to register to vote. I know that with the climate of things, people sometimes feel their vote doesn’t matter. A lot of people fought for us to have this right to vote, so let’s utilize our voice.”

BLACC has members in Chico, Oroville and Paradise, and Archie said 34 vendors or groups signed up to host booths at today’s celebration. Sponsors included United Way, the California Health Collaborative, and the NAACP Butte County.

Juneteenth celebrations are a longstanding tradition in many Black communities, marking the day of June 19, 1865, when final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas was ordered. Many slaves, however, weren’t freed until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in December 1865 or even much later.

Juneteenth was made a federal holiday in 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the National Independence Day Act.

Karen Laslo is a photojournalist and occasional contributor to ChicoSol. Leslie Layton is editor.

2 thoughts on “Juneteenth celebration draws community members to DeGarmo”

  1. Juneteenth was a lovely, festive, family celebration for the gathering of the community of Chico. Hope to see it grow in the coming years.

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