"The County of San Mateo recognizes the historical and ongoing racism in our country and how it leads to many disparities in education, job attainment, housing, criminal justice, and healthcare for Black people and beyond.

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. 
Observing Juneteenth allows us to join together in the name of freedom, justice, and the power of community."

Mike Callagy
County Executive

Juneteenth Flag Current

On May 3, 2022, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance designating June 19 as “Juneteenth,” a holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Although Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1866, it was only officially designated as a federal holiday in 2021 by President Biden — over a century and a half after formerly enslaved people began to recognize its importance. The day is now acknowledged not just throughout the entire country, but also around the world as corporations, governments and people celebrate the hard-won freedom of Black Americans.

Many of us have been taught that slavery was abolished on January 1, 1863, when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, this proclamation only directed the freeing of enslaved people within states in rebellion. Additionally, due to the slow advance of Union troops into the Confederacy, it took another two years before the last enslaved people in Texas heard of their proclaimed freedom. Those enslaved people in Texas learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3. This date was then celebrated beginning the next year in 1866 and has spread throughout the country and world as a time dedicated to education, awareness, reflection and remembrance.

In 1997, Lisa Jeanne Graf designed the symbolic Juneteenth flag with a white star surrounded by a starburst to represent Texas and the freedom of Black Americans in all states, a curved line behind the star representing a new horizon, and red, white and blue colors taken from the flag of the United States.  The flag was first flown at Roxbury Heritage State Park in Boston in 2000, and in 2007, the date “June 19, 1865” was added along the edge of the right border. The flag was also flown at the Illinois State Capitol in 2021.

The County of San Mateo will raise the Juneteenth flag on June 3, 2022, taking the opportunity to educate the public about the history, power, resilience, and unbroken spirit of Black Americans.

The Juneteenth flag raising will also kick-off a month of hour-long webinars, held each Tuesday at 7 p.m. beginning on June 7, 2022, that will provide education and awareness around Juneteenth, the obstacles still faced by Black Americans, and discussion around increasing equity and inclusion within San Mateo County.

Watch Previously Livestreamed Events
Event Panelists

June 7, 2022: First Celebration and Local Perspectives

June 14, 2022: Local Perspectives on Housing

June 21, 2022: Local Perspectives on Education

June 29, 2022: Black Leadership, Creativity, Resilience & Looking Forward

  • Rev. Dr. Marlyn Bussey, St. James AME-Zion Church
  • Michael Smith, Redwood City Councilmember
  • Kalimah Salahuddin, Jefferson Union High School District Board Member; Co-Founder REACH Coalition
  • Rev. Lorrie Owens, President, NAACP San Mateo Branch #1068
  • Moderator: Henrietta Burroughs, Executive Director, East Palo Alto Center for Community Media


Flag Raising Ceremony

  • June 3, 2022, 9 A.M.
  • 400 County Center, Courtyard Flag Pole
  • Redwood City, CA

Please join Supervisors Groom and Horsley to raise the Juneteenth flag with speakers and song, and kick-off a month of awareness and events around the holiday.

View Livestream

Let's Learn More About this Holiday Together

Check out a reading list curated by our local librarians.

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