STORY BY GIL RUBINSTEIN, PHOTO COURTESY MARIE GODDERIS
Local activist group Justice Vanguard is set to host a Juneteenth celebration at Lincoln Park in Los Altos from 1–5 p.m. on June 19, with the goal of raising $10,000 to fund the group’s initiatives.
Juneteenth celebrates the day that the last slaves in the United States were liberated in Galveston, Texas in 1865 over two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Since 1866, communities have celebrated the day through food and art, and municipalities — including Santa Clara County — across America are increasingly recognizing the day as an official holiday.
This event is the second annual Juneteenth celebration Justice Vanguard has hosted, with the goal of education through conversation being at the front of mind for the organizers.
“We are stoked,” Justice Vanguard founder Kenan Moos said. “The goal of Justice Vanguard has always been education through conversation. We want to learn, and we want to have fun.”
The celebration will host a variety of local Black businesses, including food trucks, an African jeweler, a pastry shop and a cocktail bar, among others. There will also be opportunities to hear slam poetry and speeches about Juneteenth, and to visit Justice Vanguard’s education booth to learn more about the history of the holiday.
Events such as the upcoming Juneteenth celebration are a part of Justice Vanguard’s push to involve the community and raise awareness in local initiatives. Moos pointed to the push for ethnic studies curriculum and the discussion of replacing the school resource officer on Los Altos High School’s campus as examples of issues that require community support.
“The point of this is really to explain what this holiday is, and give a little bit of history,” Moos said. “Let’s have [the community] celebrate and uplift Black people and Black culture, but also be excited to do it. We are not here to be depressed, but to celebrate freedom.”
At the event, Justice Vanguard will hold auctions and collect donations to fund their operational costs, as well as the further the group’s efforts to implement ethnic studies curriculum and the creation of a “Blackalaureate” scholarship fund to help local Black students pay for college expenses.
“Come out and join us,” Moos said. “This is not just for Los Altos, it is for whoever wants to come, from whatever city, whatever community, whatever group, whatever race, ethnicity, come and join us.”