VICTORVILLE — A water balloon toss, sack races and line dancing are a few of the activities that filled Sunday’s festivities at Sunset Ridge Park. Fore the People (FTP) hosted their first annual Juneteenth event in celebration of freedom.
“Today’s celebration of Juneteenth is so important because it acknowledges our freedom,” said FTP Founder Aleka Jackson. “It acknowledges our fight for justice, our fight for equality and our resilience and perseverance as Black people in America.”
Juneteenth — celebrated June 19, commemorates the two additional years it took enslaved people in Texas to find out slavery had been outlawed in 1863. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday.
FTP is an organization in the High Desert that works to create equal access for Black people. They are an advocate and a voice for those who haven’t yet found their voice. FTP’s goals include combatting police violence, demanding educational equity and providing community events that celebrate the culture of Black and Brown people.
Many local vendors showcased their goods at the celebration along with Korazee Tacos serving up fresh tacos.
Jackson says planning for the Juneteenth event began in January although permits were not being issued due to COVID.
“We said we can’t let this day go by — too many years have gone by, especially in the High Desert, where we haven’t acknowledged our culture,” said Jackson. “So we decided to come together and have a Black family reunion as a collective, acknowledge Juneteenth and the freedom of our people and just fellowship and love together.”
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