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Hundreds attend Sac State’s first campuswide Juneteenth celebration

Hundreds of members of the campus community attended Sac State's first Juneteenth celebration event June 13 on the Main Quad. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Hundreds gathered at Sacramento State on June 13 for the University’s first celebration of Juneteenth, which marks the emancipation of Black people from legal enslavement in America.

Around 750 people attended the event on the Main Quad, which included music, dancing, games, and speakers who discussed Juneteenth’s history and significance.

A member of the campus community shows off African-inspired bracelets.
The Juneteenth event featured live music and performers, food, games, swag such as the bracelets and T-shirt shown here, and more. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

“Let’s celebrate freedom,” Mia Settles-Tidwell, Sac State’s vice president for Inclusive Excellence, said in opening the event.

The celebration reflects the University’s commitment to becoming an antiracism campus where all feel a sense of belonging, Settles-Tidwell said.

Juneteenth is one of the most important traditions within the Black community. It marks the notification on June 19, 1865, to those still living as slaves in Galveston, Texas, that Black people were free.

All CSU campuses, including Sac State, will be closed on Monday, June 19, in recognition of Juneteenth, which became a national holiday in 2021.

On Saturday, June 17, Sac State representatives will participate in a parade and distribute information about the University during a daylong festival at William Land Park, one of several community events taking place in the Sacramento area this weekend to celebrate Juneteenth.

Next year, Sac State will host a Juneteenth celebration that will include representatives from all 23 CSU campuses.

At Tuesday’s event, visitors perused booths featuring African clothing and jewelry, as well as information about campus organizations and community groups. Guests tossed Frisbees, played cornhole, ate lunch from food trucks, and posed for pictures in front of a Juneteenth balloon backdrop. 

Jeremy Armando, a musician and music teacher who performed at the celebration, said the campus gathering was a blend of painful remembrance of the past and joy in the present.

“Events like these are so important because we need to always remember our history and keep historical facts: the good, the bad, and the ugly,” he said.

“We need to move forward, but also celebrate our resilience.”

Members of the Grant Union High School Drumline helped entertain the crowd.

“It’s just a nice way to bring everybody together and unite the community, especially for Juneteenth,” said drumline member Mark Channel.

“Today is a day to celebrate the freedom that we have today, and to reflect on the past and on our culture.”

To see more photos from the inaugural Sac State Juneteenth celebration, visit our gallery

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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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