The establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday attracted cheers, tears and applause across the country. Not to be outdone, the Tiye Cycling and Walking Sistas, who describe themselves as “a faith-based group of God-loving women,” participated in a Freedom Day Ride.
The Freedom Day route covered the Southern California’s coastal cities and neighborhoods, extending from Marina del Rey to Manhattan Beach, which included a stop at the historic landmark that identifies Bruce’s Beach.
The site has been in the news lately as the location of a resort for Black people that the city took from its owners in the early 1900s. Recent efforts by L.A. County and California elected officials aim to return the land to the descendants of the original landowners.
Juneteenth, like the illegal “land grab” that occurred at Bruce’s Beach over a century ago, was also instituted more than 100 years ago. The celebration marks the end of slavery and the date that African Americans in the Confederate state of Texas learned that they were free, two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
According to historians, 250,000 Blacks in Texas were still enslaved when Union troops marched into Galveston Bay on June 19, 1865, and read the executive decree that granted freedom to the slaves. The day was eventually called Juneteenth, which some speculate is a combination of June and 19th, by the newly freed people.
Not only do the Tiye Cycling Sistas honor significant events in Black History like Juneteenth, but the group also meets on a weekly basis to cycle and walk, according to the Rev. Dr. Brenda Maull, a member of the Sistas who said their goal is “to improve health and well-being” of the women in the group.