Juneteenth celebrations this weekend in California, South Carolina, Michigan and Colorado, a high school graduation party in Philadelphia and a concert in Baton Rouge were all marred by gun violence as five people were killed and 24 were wounded, authorities said.
President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday making Juneteenth a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States — just in time for Saturday’s June 19 anniversary. It’s a day Black Americans have celebrated yearly since the Civil War era, and this weekend was the culmination of a decadeslong effort by advocates to get national recognition for the momentous development in American history.
But gunfire erupted around 6:22 p.m. on Saturday in Oakland, California, near where people were gathered by Lake Merritt for a celebration marking the first Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The Oakland Police Department said seven people were shot, including a 22-year-old man who died from his wounds.
Police estimated that more than 1,000 people were at the lake and that the shooting unfolded despite a beefed-up police presence for the Juneteenth celebration. Cellphone video showed people running and seeking cover from a barrage of shots.