13th annual event brings out the best food, music and powerbrokers
Each food station at the Estate of Charles Quarles in Baldwin Hills told a story, a rich and historical heritage from whence Soul Food was first developed by slaves before 1865.
Finger licking spare ribs, deep fried catfish, macaroni and cheese was the harmonious hymn of modern day soul sisters Lalah Hathaway and legendary jazz singer Barbara Morrison.
Collectively it made for a 13th annual Juneteenth Celebration for the ages, held by the African American Voter Registration Education and Participation project headed up by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, culminating with the anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement and obviously the connection between the civil rights movement and the Emancipation Proclamation which is essentially what Juneteenth is about,” stated Ridley-Thomas, who hosted the event.
“Slaves were notified of their freedom and the civil rights movement is simply the continuation of the struggle for freedom, equality and justice. So it seems to me that it is fully appropriate that we celebrate our pursuit of justice.”
For the occasion, the supervisor of Los Angeles County’s second District invited many of the influential activists and elected officials in the region.
Among the guests were Compton Mayor Aja Brown, the first Black woman elected to that post, National Action Network’s Rev. K.W. Tullois, renowned civil rights leader African American media tycoon Danny Bakewell Sr., SEIU President LaPhonsa Butler, former Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Senator Roderick Wright and a bevy of other dignitaries.
The supervisor said it is the responsibility of elders to, “fight for education, income equality and justice on all fronts. Their struggles are different from ours in terms of what denies them the opportunity to the quality of life they wish to enjoy.”
“They know what they have to do and our responsibility is to bequeath them a future worth living, that’s in part what civil rights is about. We don’t want our kids to have to struggle and go through the things that we went through. So we have to step up to create a more democratic environment,” he explained.