"The Time is Now" art installation during a Juneteenth 2020 event at Lake Merritt. Credit: Amir Aziz

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Oaklanders have many reasons to celebrate this weekend. The state officially reopened on June 15, with few restrictions. Under the new guidelines, there will be no more social distancing or limited capacity at events. The first weekend of reopening also coincides with Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. 

Recognition of Juneteenth has grown in recent years. Last year, Oaklanders gathered outdoors to protest, hold conversations about race and equity, and celebrate. On Tuesday,  the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day. The house passed the bill on Thursday and President Biden is expected to sign it.

In recognition of the holiday, we put together a list of events happening around Oakland on Saturday. If you know of something else that should be on this list, let us know and we’ll add it. 

Juneteenth Jubilee

This second annual jubilee is taking place in downtown Oakland. District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor will be part of the festivities. The event will be hosted by KGO-TV ABC 7 News anchor, Kumasi Aaron and includes performances by DJ Yaddoo, Lorriah Jackson (“The Voice’s” Season 19 contestant), Michael an Micaela Cheadle, and more.

Saturday, June 19, 5:30 p.m., $125 and up, The Overlook, 344 Thomas L Berkeley Way, Oakland, Eventbrite.

Mini Museum in West Oakland

Jilchristina Vest made headlines earlier this year with the announcement that a new mural honoring the women of the Black Panther Party would be unveiled on the side of her home in West Oakland. Since its unveiling in February, the mural has gained popularity, and now, she’s turned the first-floor apartment of her home into a mini-museum honoring the Black Panthers and their community survival programs. The exhibit was curated by Oakland publisher, curator, and archivist, Lisbet Tellefsen.

Saturday, June 19, free-$12.50, Mini Museum, 831 Center St., Oakland, westoaklandmuralproject.org

Story Windows

In time for Juneteenth, Ashara Ekundayo curated a self-guided multi-media art outdoor exhibition located on Broadway between 14th and 17th Streets with Mauton Akron as the artistic director. The exhibit will highlight the work of over 20 Black artists, creators, cultural hubs, and businesses. The most striking art piece part of the exhibit is the 9-foot, bronze sculpture, Rumors of War, by renowned African American artist Kehinde Wiley, who painted the portrait of former President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The event will also include performances by: Piwai, The People’s Conservatory, DJ Black Bangando, and a prayer by Jenn Johns.

Saturday, June 19, 2 p.m., free, Latham Square, 1611 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, oaklandcentral.com

TrapSoul Day Party 

Day parties are officially back, and the TrapSoul crew, known for its parties that light up Oakland’s nightlife, will be hosting an afternoon gathering at the bar Hello Stranger. Expect Afrobeat sounds by DJ Beatific and DJ Lexx Jonez. Bartenders will be pouring the famous ‘froze’ slushies to welcome everyone back to this Broadway venue, friends and strangers alike.

Saturday, June 19, 3 p.m., free with RSVP, guaranteed admission $10-$20, Hello Stranger, 1724 Broadway, Oakland, trapsoul.eventbrite.com

“Afrika” art and decoration installation during the 1st annual Oakland Juneteenth Fest, 2020 at Lake Merritt. Credit: Amir Aziz

Black Liberation Walking Tour

Get to know the history of West Oakland’s Hoover-Foster neighborhood by hearing it from community advocate David Peters. The launch of the tour will begin at SPARC-It-Place with live music, art, and food, followed by a walking tour around the neighborhood. Learn all about the Great Migration that transformed Oakland, the Civil Rights Movement’s history on the West Coast, and storied locations like San Pablo Avenue’s California Hotel.

Saturday, June 19, 11 a.m., donation, SPARC-It-Place, 3419 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, blwt.org

Port Bar Juneteenth celebration

Queens all throughout the Bay Area have been delighting audiences online during the pandemic. Thankfully, all that changes starting this weekend. Black drag queens BeBe Sweetbriar, season 10 contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race, The Vixen, Tiara Love Dupree, Afrika America, and Coco Buttah are taking over Port Bar for a special night of dazzling and dancing. 

Saturday, June 19, 8 p.m., free, Port Bar, 2023 Broadway, Oakland, portbaroakland.com

Grooves from the Greenhouse

Blk Girls Greenhouse is known to plant parents for its abundance of gorgeous houseplants and flowers. This weekend, the greenhouse will transform to host its first concert featuring Rexx Life Raj, Vadia Rhodes, Jane Handcock, and DJ Mujie. While the show is completely sold-out, there will be a special streaming at the bar 7th West, but buying tickets online early is suggested.

Saturday, June 19, 7:30 p.m., $20 online or at the door, 7th West, 1255 7th St., Oakland, Eventbrite.

Oakland Juneteenth Fest

Of course you could always just go outside and spend the day out in the sun at beautiful Lake Merritt with DJ’s, art installations, speakers, local businesses, live artists, food vendors and more. The lakeside Juneteenth festival is hosted by ⁣⁣Afrocentric Oakland, L.E.G.I.T. and Alena Museum. The DJ lineup includes DJ Sammy Sam, DJ Mujie, DJay Slim, Lady Ryan, Crillmatic, DJ Leydis, and DJ D Sharp. While the event is free, donations are encouraged to pay for the party and plan for next year. 

Saturday, June 19, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., donation, Lake Merritt Amphitheater, Between 12th Street and 1st Ave., Oakland, Juneteenth Fest.

Azucena Rasilla is an East Oakland native, a bilingual journalist reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.