Arts & Entertainment

Juneteenth, Celebrating Freedom Day in the City of Pasadena

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. – Photo by Alex Cordero / Beacon Media News

By Alex Cordero

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is a day all over the United States that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. On June 16 the Jackie Robinson Center on 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave in the City of Pasadena will be kicking off summer by celebrating Juneteenth, along with over 40 years of serving the community.  The day observes a time in U.S. history when slavery in America was abolished. The City of Pasadena acknowledges the significance of Juneteenth by continuing a traditional celebration in the community.

The force of the Emancipation Proclamation finally came to Texas, which had become a refuge for slaveholders fleeing the spread of freedom, through “General Order No. 3” on June 19, 1865. It formally informed the freedom of those held as slaves. Former enslaved people began celebrating their freedom, and by the following year it became an annual celebration which they called Juneteenth, (short for June, Nineteenth).

In 1980 Texas became the first state to make Freedom Day a state holiday. Though Juneteenth is observed at state level throughout most of the country, most of the people we spoke to feel it should be recognized at a national level as well.  Don’t you agree?

“There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free” a quote by Jackie Robinson, an American Hero who began his athletic career in the City of Pasadena. Is it a surprise to have a community center named after him? The center was dedicated to Jackie Robinson in 1974. This center showcases not only Jack the Robber sports memorabilia, but also displays photos and trophies of little leaguers from the community.

The Jackie Robinson Center has been serving the community for over 40 years and counting. Most human services offered by the City of Pasadena are organized through this center. They conduct services for little or no cost to people of all ages; services such as health fairs, emergency assistance to low income families, and cultural activities. They also provide information and application assistance for Social Security benefits, income tax assistance, and health insurance counseling. They conduct and organize events like Juneteenth, creating an integrated community culture in the City of Pasadena.

Freedom Day raises awareness of when the abolishment of slavery became officially enforced in the United States. Freedmen and Freedwomen were determined to rise above all challenges and mark Juneteenth as the beginning of a brighter future for generations to come. The Juneteenth Festival will be celebrated at the Jackie Robinson center on Saturday, June 19 from noon to 4 p.m. The event will feature live entertainment, dancing, and food vendors. The traditional celebration is free and the entire community is invited to join the fun. Juneteenth is sponsored by Pasadena Human Services & Recreation Department. For more information, please call (626) 744-7300.

June 14, 2018

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