Whether you call it Freedom Day, Jubilee, Black Independence Day—or by its original namesake, Juneteenth—June 19 commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States.
You don’t even have to wait until June 19. Any day is a good day to recognize all the things that Black folks have given to this country and the world. However, given that Juneteenth is right around the corner, there are many Juneteenth-adjacent celebrations of Black life, joy and culture scheduled between now and the holiday in question.
Scroll down for The Standard’s roundup of local Juneteenth events.
Juneteenth 2022 Events in San Francisco
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Pl.
Friday, June 10, 12 - 2 p.m. | Free
This Friday, in partnership with the Human Rights Commission, activist Phelicia Jones, founder of local social justice organization, Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, will be hosting the second annual Juneteenth Kickoff rally on the steps of City Hall. Attendees are invited to celebrate through song, dance, community speakers and speeches from President Shamann Walton and Mayor London Breed, who will raise the Juneteenth Flag at City Hall. There will also be a free barbeque.
Oasis, 298 11th St.
Friday, Jun 10, 10 p.m. | $15+
“Reparations: An All-Black Drag Show” is organized by Nicki Jizz, who will be performing alongside over 10 fellow queens representative of the Transgender Cultural District. If you can’t make this event, you might consider The Transgender Cultural District Presents: Juneteenth Black Pride on June 19 at Piano Fight. That drag cabaret show, also hosted by Nicki, will feature brunch from Comfort Collective.
Bayview Opera House, 4705 3rd St.
Friday, June 10, 6 - 8 p.m. | $25
San Francisco’s historic Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is home to a massive community of working artists. It also stands at the center of the Big Migration of African Americans to San Francisco in the 1940s. Curated by eight San Francisco-based artists in residence at the Shipyard, this exhibit celebrates the city’s African American heritage and diaspora. Stop by and hang out with the artists, enjoy refreshments and live music from the Calvin Keys Trio.
Unity Plaza, 1002 Ocean St.
Saturday, June 11, 2 - 5 p.m.
The OMI Cultural Participation Project, in collaboration with District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, will bring over 31 small businesses, non-profit organizations, vendors, and artists to Unity Plaza. Food, live DJs, music by Zydeco Band, a bounce house for the kids, and line dancing.
Ferry Plaza, 1 Ferry Plaza
Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m | Free
This Saturday, San Francisco’s ferry plaza will transform into an outdoor food hall to salute local Black-owned restaurants in honor of Juneteenth. This event will feature 13 restaurants from the San Francisco Bay Area who will prepare and sell their signature menu items on site. Bring your appetite and your family. Coloring, mancala games, cooking demonstrations and live music will also be part of the fun.
Root Division, 1131 Mission St.
Saturday, June 11, 5 - 9 p.m. | Free
Four Black Bay Area educators will be honored in the form of large-scale dimensional paintings: Nakachi Clark-Kasimu, Sienna Melissa, Khalid White and Niqueen Jones. The paintings will be on display at "Root Division Studios," an art fellowship program, in an exhibit called "The Black Warrior Mentorship Project." Seven fellows created and curated this exhibit, which will creatively tell the stories of how these four mentors influenced them.
Cobbs Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave.
Friday & Saturday, June 17 & 18, 7:30 p.m + 9:30 p.m Shows /$25
Get your laughs in this weekend. Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco will be hosting a special Juneteenth celebration featuring some of the area's funniest Black comedians, such as Tony Spark, Jalisa Robinson, and Donald Lacy. Stroy Moyd, who has appeared on the STARZ hit show Blindspotting and performed for crowds at Chase Center's Thrive City, headlines the show.
The Green Room War Memorial, 401 Van Ness Ave.
Friday, June 17, 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. | $65-200
The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce and SFJAZZ have joined forces to honor Dr. Nina Simone on Juneteenth and Black Music Month. "Juneteenth, A Musical History of Freedom" is a musical history of freedom performed at San Francisco's historic War Memorial & Performing Arts Center. The event will feature a reception hosted by The Golden State Warriors, an art exhibit, dinner and a live performance by vocalist Kim Nalley, who will perform a musical tribute.
1330 Fillmore St.
Saturday, June 18, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. | Free
At this Juneteenth celebration, there's something for everyone. The 72nd Annual Juneteenth Festival, which will span eight blocks from Fillmore Street to Fulton Avenue, is expected to draw hundreds of people to the historic Fillmore District. Carnival rides, a hair show, a fashion show, and a car show are all part of the fun. At the festival's beer and wine garden, there will also be food trucks, cooking demonstrations and a complimentary wine tasting.
Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 100 John F. Shelley Dr.
Saturday, June 18, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. | Free
The San Francisco Citywide Black Student Union is a youth-led organization dedicated to promoting Black culture and youth in San Francisco. Their first annual Juneteenth Festival, taking place at the historic Jerry Garcia Amphitheater will highlight local entrepreneurs, creators, and artists. Organized entirely by youth, this event will celebrate the diversity of Black culture within San Francisco. There will also be live performances, food and games.
Westfield San Francisco Centre, 865 Market St.
Saturday, June 18, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. | $50+
Come together for a night of elegant art, live music, a four-course menu and wine pairings celebrating the creative gifts of local Black talent from across the diaspora. The Warriors’ official DJ, DJ D-Sharp, will spin beats and a secret San Franciscan R&B vocalist will also perform at this intimate and elevated event.
Outdoors Inc, 1430 Sunnydale Ave.
Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. | Free
Join a handful of community-based organizations, small businesses, and the youth and families of the Visitication Valley for their first ever Juneteenth celebration. This event will feature free food, a resource fair and activities fun for all ages.
Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St.
Saturday, June 18, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. | Free
Celebrate Juneteenth a day early with a free day at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Check out complimentary access to MoAD’s current exhibitions, including Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art, David Huffman: Terra Incognita and Sam Vernon: Impasse of Desires. St. Gabriel's Celestial Brass Band plays traditional New Orleans funeral jazz and leads a processional line on MoAD’s salon at noon. Can’t make it to MoAD in person? The museum hosts an informal conversation and pairing of revolutionary art and music online at 11 a.m. and Professor Daina Ramey Berry will host an online presentation on the history of Juneteenth at 3 p.m.
Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St.
Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m. | Free
Dramatist and actress Anna Deavere Smith will preach at this special Juneteenth Choral Eucharist service, also featuring anthems sung by the cathedral’s choir. Her award-winning work, Notes From the Field, draws from more than 200 interviews with students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in the school-to-prison pipeline and her sermon will address some of these themes of ongoing slavery and emancipation. Register in advance as capacity is limited for in-person attendance.
Gilman Park, 903 Gilman Ave.
Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m. | Free
Join SF Black Wallstreet for their 3rd Annual Juneteenth in the Bayview District at Gilman Park. Food vendors, the Black Millionaire Marketplace, live music by local artists and a special performance by R&B group Silk are all on the agenda. Children's amusement park rides, community resources and family activities will also be part of the fun.
Drew School, 2901 California St.
Sunday, June 19, 2 p.m. | $20+
Renowned composer Roland Carter has been working with a choir on a choral work inspired by civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis for several months, and they are now ready to perform. This event can be enjoyed online or in person. Carter is a pianist, conductor, educator, and composer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Concerts with major choruses and orchestras, lectures, workshops, and master classes are among his achievements as a choral arts leader. From presidential inaugurations to the smallest church, Mr. Carter lends his keen ear, bright mind and talented hands to projects of all kinds.
El Rio, 3158 Mission St.
Sunday, June 19, 3 - 8 p.m. | $20
It’s time to vogue for a good cause. Hosted by vogue-ing expert Sir Joq, Swagger Like Us is a queer midday party open anyone who is in the mood to dance. DJ’s Deontre, Sevyn + Freddie 331 will be spinning and a portion ticket sales will be donated to Rafiki Coalition. Rafiki’s goals are to improve people’s lives by reducing health inequities that impact the Black/ African American community and other under-served groups in San Francisco and provide opportunities for wellness.
The Standard Salon, 2505 Mariposa St.
Thursday - Sunday, June 16 - 19 | $30+
Founded by Ave Montague, the San Francisco Black Film Festival's mission is to celebrate African American cinema and the African cultural diaspora and to showcase a diverse collection of films—from emerging and established filmmakers alike. While this year’s festival will be screened in multiple locations, the San Francisco Standard will be hosting opening night and screenings throughout the weekend. The festival's theme this year is "HER Legacy," which represents Cree Ray, the festival's director, taking over the festival in honor of Ave Montague, who died in 2011. It also reflects the Friday screening schedule, which features all female directors.
Ruth Williams Memorial Center (Bayview Opera House), 4705 3rd St.
Sunday, June 19, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. | Free
Directed by San Francisco native Kevin Epps, Straight Outta Hunters Point follows the ongoing racial, economic and environmental issues faced by Black residents of San Francisco’s Bayview District. The film traces a narrative arc from the post-Word War II Great Migration in the ’50s through the cycle of poverty and “tough-on-crime” era of the ’90s, to the gang-affiliated battles between Big Block and Westmob in the early 2000s. In the process, the film offers a rare glimpse into what growing up in Hunters Point was like for Epps and others. The screening will also feature a performance by SF Poet Laurette Tongo- Eisen Martin.
Meaghan Mitchell can be reached at [email protected]