Jun 6, 2024 - Things to Do

What to know about SF's Juneteenth parade and festival

child with parent holding juneteenth flag

San Francisco hosted its first official Juneteenth celebration and parade in 2023. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Juneteenth isn't until the 19th but it's coming to San Francisco early with the city's official parade and celebration this weekend.

Why it matters: Even though San Francisco's Black population has dwindled over the past several decades, the city-sanctioned celebration symbolizes freedom for the Black people who are still here, Sheryl Davis, executive director of the city's Human Rights Commission, told KQED.

Driving the news: Saturday's Juneteenth parade begins at 11am on Market and Spear streets and will be immediately followed by a festival at Civic Center Plaza until 6pm.

What they're saying: "The people in the parade are grateful to be seen, whether it's by one person or 1,000," Davis said.

  • "And to know the streets were shut down to celebrate their culture — in a town where people often talk about how many Black folks have left the city, but they don't mention the people who still live here."

By the numbers: Black people comprise just 4.6% of San Francisco's 808,000 residents, according to Census data.

Context: Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.

Flashback: Celebrations began in San Francisco in 1945, when Wesley Johnson, Sr. rode down Fillmore Street on a white horse, according to the city's Juneteenth website.

  • Johnson, who came to San Francisco from Texas in the 1920s, sought to bring his "corner of Texas to San Francisco and show them how it's really done."
  • But the celebration didn't become city-sponsored until last year, when San Francisco hosted its first official parade and celebration.

What's next: Beyond Saturday's celebration, there will be a host of other Juneteenth events throughout the city this month, including a festival in the Fillmore on June 15 and one in Bayview Hunters Point on June 16.

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