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Santa Cruz celebrates Juneteenth with Parade

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV) –Santa Cruz got its Juneteenth celebration started early on Saturday. Large crowds gathering at the Black Lives Matter mural and Laurel Park for a parade and festivities.

A live second line band marching from Center Street to Laurel Park kicking off this year's Juneteenth celebration in downtown Santa Cruz Saturday. 

City leaders showed their support.

“Each year more and more younger people are engaged and involved and it’s just a great community event and it just makes me smile," Sonja Brunner Santa Cruz city council member said.

People lining up and down the streets to celebrate the federal holiday commemorating freedom and equality for all people. Organizers calling it a vibrant celebration of African American heritage.

“Before I was five I was going to Juneteenth and so as the years progress, I just got more and more back into the event and I had an opportunity to become part of this here and help throw the event," Ritch Tycoon a member of the board for Juneteenth parade said.

Another organizer, who's part of the Umoja community at Cabrillo College, says the annual event is an opportunity to connect more with the community.

“There’s a small population of black people or black diverse minority population in this community and it’s important for us to connect because when you connect with people," Donnie Veal rising scholars program coordinator Cabrillo College said. 

The first Santa Cruz Juneteenth celebration was held back in 1991. 

Speakers and live music sharing the stage help bring many like Isaac Collins back year after year. 

“I am looking forward to the music to just gather around other people celebrating the food and talking to people and just connecting and coming together once a year," Issac Collins a resident of Santa Cruz County said. "We get together and celebration this year with amazing artists and it's an amazing thing to be a part of."

Juneteenth is on Wednesday June 19th and it’s important to check as many federal offices, banks and post offices may be closed.

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Briana Mathaw


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