The first African American woman crowned Miss USA will deliver the keynote speech at the 20th annual Juneteenth celebration June 16 in Santa Monica.
Jayne Kennedy—a former Miss Ohio who went on to become a sportscaster—will join host actress Juanita Jennings of Tyler Perry’s sitcom Meet the Browns and Grammy-nominee Ray Brooks and the Blues Masters Band noon to 5 p.m. at .
The name of the Juneteenth celebration refers to June 19, 1865, when the last slaves were emancipated in Galveston, TX, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is recognized nationally, and longtime Santa Monica resident LaVerne Roth founded Santa Monica’s version of the event in 1992.
This year, Santa Monica's festival will honor Thelma Terry, a leader who dedicated her life to Santa Monica youth.
Performers at this lively event will also include the Blue Breeze Band, Kehinde Otis Johnson’s Stilt Walker Troupe, Samba Samba Dance, Tri-A Steppers Drum Line and the Lava Bai Drum Circle.
A children’s zone with offer crafts, face painting, and games. Event organizers are also planning a cultural arts market place and Texas-style barbecue.
[Click here for a gallery of photos documenting last year's Juneteenth celebration in Santa Monica]
For more information, visit smgov.net/vapark, call (310) 458-8688 or like Virginia Avenue Park on Facebook.