The Santa Maria/Lompoc Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Collective Cultures Creating Change, Lompoc (C4 Lompoc) will hold a free Juneteenth Celebration to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people and the end of slavery in the U.S. The local event runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Ryon Park, 800 W. Ocean, Lompoc.

The first Juneteenth Celebration was celebrated in Texas on June 19, 1866, one year after the Emancipation Proclamation reached them. Originally marked by prayer meetings, the singing of spirituals, and wearing of new clothes to represent newfound freedom, the celebration has grown yearly and is now held in most states.

In 2021, President Joseph R. Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday. Legislation is pending in California.

Keynote speaker for the Lompoc event will be Dr. Brooke Russell, an experimental particle physicist working as an Owen Chamberlain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Physics Division in Berkeley. She is one of the first 100 Black women in the United States and first Black woman at Yale University with a Ph.D in physics.

Additionally, the celebration will feature feature speakers, music, poetry, dance, games for children and adults, children storytelling, arts, crafts, and merchandise for sale, food vendors, and community resource tables.

The celebration is made possible with funding from The Fund For Santa Barbara Racial Equity Fund (REF) and the county of Santa Barbara. For more, contact NAACP president Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt, 805-448-7869, C4 Lompoc co-president Yasmin Dawson, 805-294-2338 or Cozetta Blow, 805-588-8998.

The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, founded in 1909, is dedicated to ensuring the social, political, educational and economic equality of rights of all citizens by removing barriers of racial discrimination and hatred through the democratic processes and enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws to guarantee that the civil rights of all people of color remain secure. 

C4 Lompoc is a coalition that identifies resources needed, creates safe space, connects, and activates individuals with organizations, ensuring all members have equal opportunity to flourish as productive members of society.

The Fund For Santa Barbara is a non-traditional community foundation that supports organizations and groups working for progressive social change in Santa Barbara County. The fund is dedicated to helping find solutions to current and emerging social problems and issues that challenge society as a whole.