Juneteenth Celebration Set For Saturday in Palm Springs

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Juneteenth Celebration Set For Saturday in Palm Springs

by Contributing Editor

Youth organizers are set to conduct a Juneteenth celebration at a Palm Springs park Saturday in remembrance of the day the last slaves in the Confederacy learned of their freedom.

The 5 p.m. celebration set for Frances Stevens Park will have speakers, food, music and a consortium of local Black-owned businesses sporting their wares, plus activities for children.

The celebration is organized by Young Justice Advocates of the Desert, whose teenage leaders spearheaded the “Enough is Enough” protest June 6 in Palm Springs. About 1,000 people turned out, the most for a demonstration in the Coachella Valley in recent memory.

“Not everybody knows about Juneteenth,” said Areli Galvez, a co-founder of the group “I feel more people are going to become educated on this day because it is the day the last group of enslaved African Americans (in the Confederacy) were informed of their freedom. They were finally able to become a part of a county they basically built.”

The 16-year-old told City News Service she expects somewhere between 500 and 800 people to attend.

Galvez, who is entering her senior year at La Quinta High School, says she is mixed — part Black and part Mexican — a combination she says often makes her a target to some at school who feel she’s either not Black enough or not Mexican enough. Galvez said she plans to speak about her school issues during Saturday’s celebration.

“My friends who are mixed always talk about that,” she said. “We never have a place to fit in. So this is mainly why I’m doing it, because I want other people who feel the same way to be able to connect with us.”

Young Justice Advocates of the Desert started on social media in May, days after George Floyd, a Black man, died while a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The group started out with eight teenage girls, ages 14 to 18, with a similar social justice vision who linked up on Instagram.

From there the real work began — organizing, gathering supporters and getting the word out. The group eventually led its first protest at Ruth Hardy Park earlier this month, which saw upwards of 1,000 in attendance. The group is now down to about three core organizers, who are continuing to utilize social media in getting the word out about social justice.

Juneteenth marks the anniversary of Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger reading General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, which began, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862, and went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863. It changed the legal status under federal law of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the Confederate states from slave to free.

As soon as a slave escaped the control of the Confederate government, either by running away across Union lines or through the advance of federal troops, the slave was permanently free. The Union victory brought the proclamation into effect in all of the former Confederacy.

The remaining slaves, those in the areas not in revolt, were freed by state action or the 13th Amendment, which was ratified on in December 1865.

Juneteenth is a state holiday in Texas and a paid holiday for state employees in Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. Under a 2002 California law, the third Saturday in June is “Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance.”

“I’m doing this because I want unity,” Galvez said. “I want to be treated as a equal to everybody else. I want my kids to be able to grow up and not go through what I go through as a teenager.”

More information on Young Justice Advocates of the Desert is available on their Instagram page, www.instagram.com/youngjusticeadvsofthedesert/.

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All credit goes to Contributing Editor
Originally published on https://mynewsla.com

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