The festival along Degnan Boulevard will feature five stages with live music, workshops, panel discussions, children activities, and vendors.
By Jason Lewis
Juneteenth in Leimert Park will be a day of Black pride, Black power, Black joy, and a day where Black people in the greater Los Angeles area come together to showcase Black culture at its finest. This is a day to wear Black apparel with pride.
The Leimert Park Rising festival on Saturday, June 19, will be the largest Juneteenth event that this city has seen. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It has always been a major event in East Texas, where the holiday originated after African Americans who had been enslaved in Galveston, Texas, were informed that they were freed.
In Los Angeles there have been Juneteenth commemorations in the past, but after George Floyd was murdered by a Minnesota police officer, which sparked nation-wide protests, people around the country gathered in Black communities for Juneteenth.
“We got uproared in the middle of the pandemic with the George Floyd execution in public,” said Alfred Torregano, event promoter for Leimert Park Rising. “I think that people were fed up and took to the streets in so many different fashions and ways, and the protests became a global thing.”
While Leimert Park Rising’s Juneteenth event will be a celebration with live music, dancing, great food, and vendors who sell Black merchandise, this event will also be used for Black empowerment.
“We’re looking at the social impact side of it with calls to actions that discuss self governance, our mental health, conflict resolution, financial freedom, food security, what group economics looks like, imagining what a cooperative ecosystem really is in Leimert Park so that we can be sustainable and so that we can actually be here as gentrification passes through here,” Torregano said.
The festival will feature panel discussions and workshops on financial literacy, mental health, racial equity, reparations, tech, and health and wellness.
This event will be fun for everybody.
“There will be amazing food, amazing entertainment, and an amazing social environment,” Torregano said. “You’re going to come and your soul will be fed. But as you take a deeper dive you’ll hone in on community calls to action so that we can reimagine how we do business with each other; how we look at our own neighbors in our communities. We’re going to see a large diaspora of music on the stage. There will be something for everybody. We want to build the intergenerational relationships within our communities where our elders and our young folks need to have more conversations together. We’re looking to celebrate our Blackness, our liberation, our independence.”
Leimert Park Rising will take place along Degnan Boulevard and Leimert Boulevard between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.leimertparkrising.com and follow the event on Instagram.