Community comes together at Juneteenth Parade and Festival in Richmond

Community comes together at Juneteenth Parade and Festival in Richmond
Photo: City of Richmond

Thousands of community members attended the Juneteenth Parade and Festival at Nicholl Park in Richmond.

The annual celebration remembers June 19, 1865, the day that Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended, marking emancipation from slavery.

In Richmond, it’s been held annually for nearly two decades in order to celebrate local African Americans and, more importantly, to bring the community together, said community organizer Duane Chapman.

The free family festival features bands, music sponsored by the Neighborhood Block Association, the City of Richmond, and Chevron Richmond.

The festival included a wide array of activities, starting with a parade from Kennedy High to Nicholl Park that featured several community organizations, public officials such as Mayor Tom Butt, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, city councilmembers and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, performances by local youth dance troupes and marching bands, fire trucks and a long line of fancy show cars.

“This is a when Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, and for the last 16 to 20 years we have put on the festival for our African American community,” Chapman said. “We’re having fun. The parade is made up of people from the community, local businesses like Chevron and Bank of the West. The whole idea is to bring the community together.”

Thousands of community members attended the 2018 Juneteenth Family Day Parade and Festival in Richmond on June 16, 2018

Chevron supports the event every year for that very reason: to bring the community together.

“On behalf Chevron, we are really proud to be sponsoring this event,” said Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager for the company. “Again this year we had some amazing parade entries and festivities.”

This parade route this year was a bit shorter than in previous years for public safety reasons.

“A little shorter route [for the parade] this year but it’s still great,” Gioia said. “The community comes out every year to enjoy the music and festival.”