Juneteenth celebrations are happening across the country, as well as across the Southland, and hundreds of people are gathering to enjoy a good time, but also reflect on the importance of the holiday.

One of the events that drew a large mass of people was a celebration at Leimert Park.

“Juneteenth belongs to Black people,” said Eliza Franklin, a student at UCLA. “This is our day and we should be able to celebrate it and be liberated and be as free and as Black as we want to be, we deserve it.”

Juneteenth is the day of commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The Leimert Park block party showcased the rich culture of the Black community.

“Everything you see here is from Ghana and is either handmade or hand-stitched,” said Dedra Dixon, owner of the Ghana Connection.

Dixon said her collection is her way of bridging African culture through art and fashion with us back here at home.

“I feel like more people need to know about their culture as African-American, we need to be more connected,” Dixon said.

Sunday’s events were partly a day of celebration, but also a time to reflect on the country’s tragic history.

“It doesn’t really matter the day, it’s all about what raises consciousness to awaken people to the injustices that have been implemented by those in charge on this planet,” said Baba Musolin, one of the people visiting Leimert Park Sunday.

“I’m 64 years old and I’ve seen a lot of changes, and I’m excited that everyone can be here to reunite as one instead of individually, so it’s very special to me,” said local pastor Keith Shepard.

For others, Juneteenth is just a formality and they hope to embody the spirit of what the day means in everyday life.

“Every day for me is Juneteenth,” said W.L. Jackson, co-owner of a business called Grandma’s Remedy.
“Juneteenth is just another day for us to actually be around each other in a larger group and for us to actually take the time off to come and share our gifts and uplift each other and motivate each other.”

For those like UCLA student Franklin, Sunday’s event gave her the outlet to enjoy her heritage and community without fear or anxiety.

“When I look around, I feel great, you hear the drums and you feel it,” Franklin said. “It’s something about being around Black people and being in the element and not being policed for your hair or how you look or how you’re dressed and just be able to be in community with one another.”

While many events have happened over the weekend, The federal holiday is being recognized on Monday.