The ongoing national conversation about racial injustice introduced many Americans to a holiday then not well known in the mainstream — Juneteenth, celebrating June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Texas finally learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier, on Jan. 1, 1863.
But we couldn’t do much with this knowledge in 2020. The pandemic made public celebrations a no-go, so most Juneteenth 2020 events were muted and, for safety’s sake, virtual.
What a difference a year — and mass vaccinations — can make.
This year, Angelenos have a long list of diverse, real-life events to choose from, from remembrances of an early civil rights activist to community parades and rallies to celebrations involving music, food and drink.
For instance, Margaret and Brandon Williamson, owners of the new PRSVR (pronounced “persevere”) store in Burbank, are providing Afro beat dance lessons and a chance to color Brandon’s Kente Noir designs on everything from wall hangings to bucket hats and T-shirts and to listen to speakers explore the issues of the Black diaspora.
“So many Black Americans don’t feel their African roots, but if we can’t have American roots, we’re left wondering who we are,” said Margaret Williamson. “We want to talk about Juneteenth, the journey of Black Americans and how American culture has come together — how we continue to rise up and how we, as Americans, refuse to believe that the majority of us are hate-filled. The majority continue to push a melting pot vision of America.”
Art & Music
The PRSVR Picnic: A Juneteenth Celebration, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the PRSVR Store, (pronounced “Ppersevere”), 1855 N. Victory Place, Burbank, celebrates Black-owned businesses and brands with guest speakers exploring the topic of the Black diaspora. Tickets are $20 to $50, and include a chance to paint or color in-house designer Brandon Williamson’s Kente Noir designs on wall hangings, bags, bucket hats or T-shirts. The event also includes mini dance lessons in Afro beats. After 3 p.m. the event will feature food, cannabis and wine, and attendees must be 21 or older. perseverelifestyle.com