Contra Costa County officials released details about a planned Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony at County Center in Redwood City this Friday. The flag raising will take place at 9 a.m. in the courtyard of 400 County Center. Later in the month, the flag will be moved to a more visible flagpole on Veterans Boulevard in Redwood City, which is less suitable for a ceremony, the County said. At Friday's ceremony, Marie Davis, former NAACP local chapter president, will sing the Black national anthem. Speakers will include the Rev. Lorrie Owens, San Mateo NAACP; Rose Jacobs Gibson, Honorary Chair of the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration and Supervisors Don Horsley and Carole Groom. For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be livestreamed on the County’s Facebook page and the recording later posted on its Juneteeth webpage, which features a curated reading list from local libraries along with historical details. Beyond the ceremony, the County will host a month of hour-long webinars on  "topics including local perspectives on Juneteeth and housing." The webinasr will take place at 7 p.m. every Tuesday, beginning June 7. Learn more and register for events here. On May 3, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors designated June 19 as Juneteenth and made it an observed County government holiday. "Juneteenth gets its name from combining June and nineteenth, the day (June 19) in 1865 when the enslaved people of Texas learned of the freedom following the Civil War," the County notes. "The County of San Mateo is raising the flag in early June to take the opportunity to educate the public about the history, power, resilience and unbroken spirit of Black Americans over the course of the month." To Hornsley, Juneteen is a time to reflect upon history and "take action to progress the causes of equality and justice. Groom added,  “Juneteenth is a day to recommit ourselves to equity, equality, and justice for all."

San Mateo County to hold Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony

in A&E/Community

San Mateo County will hold a flag raising ceremony on Friday, June 3, to kick off “a month of awareness around Juneteenth.”

The event will take place at 9 a.m. at the Courtyard Flagpole at 400 County Center in Redwood City.

Last week, the County’s Board of Supervisors officially adopted the federal holiday as an annual holiday for all County employees. Observed each year on June 19, Juneteenth National Independence Day commemorates the traditional observance of the end of the slavery in the U.S.

“While President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring the slaves in Confederate territory free, that Proclamation was not announced in Texas until June 19, 1865,” according to County officials. “The 13th Amendment, which formally abolished slavery in the entire United States, was subsequently ratified in December 1865. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.”

President Joe Biden signed into law a federal holiday recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence day on June 17 last year. County ordinance allows the Board of Supervisors to grant as a County holiday any holiday appointed by the U.S. president.

The cost of the additional holiday to the County is estimated at $3,7 million, a figure that has already been accounted for in the County department budgets, officials said.

“The County of San Mateo recognizes the history of racism in our country and how it has led to many disparities in education, job attainment, housing, criminal justice, and healthcare for Black people and beyond,” officials said. “Juneteenth is a significant opportunity to honor the principles of the Declaration of Independence and celebrate the many achievements and contributions African Americans have made and continue to make in the County of San Mateo and across our nation.”