Saturday, June 19, Black Live Matter Community Action (BLMCA) San Luis Obispo hosted a Juneteenth celebration in Mitchell Park. 

The event was hosted to “celebrate Black joy with food, music and activities in the park,” according to an Instagram post on the organization’s account. 

“This is a space for Black folx to be themselves, embrace our culture and collectively celebrate our independence,” the post said.

Juneteenth, short for June 19, is the anniversary of when troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to gain control of the state and free the remaining slaves. This was two years after The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln declaring all slaves in confederate states free.

To finance the costs of the City’s mandated Special Event Insurance and Special Event Permit, BLMCA fundraised via instagram by selling prints and stickers.

The local event included performances from Black musicians, such as Lorde Sanctus and Cavin Stokes, and the Black-owned restaurant Papa Jay’s Southern Quezine catered. 

In addition to music and food, various personal artists came together at the San Luis Obispo event to celebrate this holiday. 

One of the art vendors present was Kristen Lee, a Cal Poly alum who drove from Los Angelesto sell her resin work. 

“There weren’t really any celebrations like this here at all,” Lee said, reflecting on her time at Cal Poly. “Not really having that much of that community, it was really hard. A lot of us did leave and then a lot of us wanted to leave.”

However, Lee chose to stick it out with the community she did have and work to grow it.

“A lot of the protests helped out because it got more of the community that was separated — especially with it being a really small black population — it got more of them to come out and come together,” Lee said.  

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