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Juneteenth Photos: Witness Black Joy in San Francisco’s Fillmore District

Written by Evan ReinhardtPublished Jun. 17, 2023 • 4:40pm
Radio host Steven Parker takes the stage at the Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on Saturday in the Fillmore District. | Evan Reinhardt for The Standard

Thousands packed San Francisco’s historic Fillmore District on Saturday to celebrate Juneteenth. 

Spanning eight blocks, the gathering aimed to recognize the emancipation of enslaved Black people in 1865 while highlighting and uplifting the rich Black culture of San Francisco. 

Shakirah Simley, executive director of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, oversaw multiple booths with mental health and wellness offerings like massages, sound baths and fresh fruit. 

“We’ve been celebrating Juneteenth in the Fillmore for almost 80 years,” Simley said. “This is a time for us to celebrate Black liberation, Black freedom, Black joy and really reconnect with our community.”

Mayor London Breed hugs and shakes hands with attendants briefly during the Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on June 17, 2023. | Evan Reinhardt for The Standard

Locals young and old—including Mayor London Breed—filled the streets to witness the lively event. Fillmore native Billy “Rub” Howard explained why this celebration is so important to the Fillmore District. 

“At one time, this was mostly an all-Black neighborhood, but right now it’s been taken over,” Howard said. “This is like home to us.”

Despite the changing neighborhood, Howard says it feels great to come back and see so many people in attendance. 

Some of the vendors, like CIK Apparel and In Real Life, sold vibrant streetwear, while food vendors, like Sir Hands Street Foodz and On the Ground Catering, provided full plates of mouth-watering barbecue and soul food for attendees.

Thousands of people pack Fillmore Street in San Francisco during the Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on Saturday. | Evan Reinhardt for The Standard

Other vendors like the United States Department of Agriculture booth sought to attract Black youth to government jobs. 

“I’m out here trying to spread information to the little ones and let them know that even though there’s a [stigma] about there being more whites working in the federal system, there are Black people that do this,” said Christopher Burns, who staffed the booth.

Click through the photo gallery at the top of the page for more images from the Fillmore and check out other events commemorating Juneteenth this weekend, including another celebration in the Bayview District and the San Francisco Black Film Festival on Sunday.

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