Seal Beach sees first Juneteenth observance

Local Black Lives Matter activists celebrate the first Federal Juneteenth Holiday. Photo by Jeanette Cookmeyer

The Juneteenth Federal holiday was signed into law on Thursday, June 17, 2021, and celebrated by a small group in Seal Beach on Saturday, June 19.

According to Julia Voce, a Seal Beach resident, the event was marked by local Black Lives Matter activists. In a June 22 email, Voce wrote that the event “took place on Main Street with stops at PCH and Main, Electric, and the pier.”

The group stopped at a Main Street toy  shop to support a fundraising drive for low income children. Photos provided by Voce show some participants wearing face masks while others do not. “In 1863, during the American Civil War, Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states to be free,” according to

Two years later, Blacks in Galveston, Texas, got the news on June 19, from Union soldiers, according to

“Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and a number of other states subsequently followed suit,” according to the website.

Legally, slavery ended in the United states with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which passed in the Senate on April 8, 1864, in the House on 1865, and which was ratified on Dec. 6, 1865, according to

Seal Beach sees first Juneteenth observance