May 31, 2022
  • Flag raising kicks off month of celebratory & educational events

    Redwood City — County and community leaders will raise a commemorative Juneteenth flag at County Center this Friday, June 3, kicking off a month of events aimed at celebrating the end of slavery in the United States and acknowledging the obstacles still facing the Black community.

    The public is invited to the flag raising and to celebrate and learn the history of the nation’s newest national holiday.

    “Juneteenth is a time for all of us to reflect upon and to recognize our country’s tragic legacy of slavery and racism,” said Don Horsley, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. “It’s also a time for us to come together as a community to take action to progress the causes of equality and justice.”

    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 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.

    “Juneteenth is a day to recommit ourselves to equity, equality, and justice for all,” said Carole Groom, a member of the Board of Supervisors.

    The flag raising will take place at 9 a.m. in the courtyard of 400 County Center, Redwood City, 94063.

    Marie Davis, former NAACP local chapter president, will sing the Black national anthem. Speakers will include:

    • Rev. Lorrie Owens, San Mateo NAACP
    • Rose Jacobs Gibson, Honorary Chair of the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration
    • Supervisors Horsley and Groom

    For those unable to attend, the flag raising ceremony will be livestreamed on the County’s Facebook page and the recording later posted on its Juneteeth webpage. That site also includes details on the history of Juneteeth and a curated reading list from local libraries. 

    The County will also hold a month of hour-long webinars on topics including local perspectives on Juneteeth and housing. Each webinar is held at 7 p.m. every Tuesday, beginning June 7. Learn more and register for events here.

    Note: Later in the month, the Juneteenth flag will be moved to a flagpole at a more highly visible (although less suitable for a ceremony) location on Veterans Boulevard in Redwood City.

    The Board of Supervisors on May 3, 2022, designated June 19 as Juneteenth, an annual observed County government holiday. The action followed several other Board resolutions affirming the County’s commitment to racial equity.

    On June 23, 2020, the Board adopted a resolution supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

    On Aug. 4, 2020, the Board adopted a resolution condemning racism and injustice, declaring racism a public health crisis and affirming a commitment to diversity, equity, access and inclusion.

    On Sept. 14, 2021, the Board adopted a resolution acknowledging the centuries of inequality and systemic, institutionalized racism in the United Sates and committing to advancing the County’s racial equity efforts. The Board also recognized the painful and significant role that government agencies have played in creating and maintaining racial inequities.

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