Juneteenth Family Day Parade & Festival makes triumphant return

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The Juneteenth Family Day Parade & Festival in Richmond passed through the newly named Juneteenth Freedom Underpass en route to Nicholl Park for a festival on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

Richmond’s famous annual Juneteenth Family Day Parade & Festival returned to its pre-pandemic form today, albeit with a few new features that have made the celebration extra special.

For one, the parade passed underneath the just-completed Juneteenth Freedom Underpass mural that was painted on what was formerly called the S. 37th St. underpass between Chanslor and Ohio avenues. 

Also, Juneteenth is now a national holiday after President Joe Biden last year signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. That act further revealed how Richmond has been ahead of the curve: the Juneteenth festivities have been celebrated annually in the city for over two decades.

This year’s event was sponsored by Chevron Richmond, the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the City of Richmond.

Naomi Williams, president of the Pullman Neighborhood Council—which organized the mural—served as the 2022 Juneteenth Family Parade & Festival’s Grand Marshall, along with McKinley Williams, former president of Contra Costa College who inspires the community’s love for and participation in the game of chess.

Among the many community leaders in the parade was Jerrold Hatchett, the longtime community advocate and retired Sims Metal representative who has played a central role in ensuring the Juneteenth celebrations occur in Richmond. His legacy is recognized in the underpass mural.

The parade began at Booker T. Anderson Community Center at 10 a.m., then made its way to and up S. 37th Street to Macdonald Avenue, finishing at Nicholl Park for a daylong festival featuring food, live music and a whole lot of other fun running till 6 p.m.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation—when Major General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX and announced the Civil War had ended and that slaves were free. For more information on this history, go here.

Enjoy photos from the parade and festival: